There is always a risk that the first week of a Grand Tour can get boring, from everyone’s perspective. Flat/Sprint Stages designed to put the leaders Jersey on a non GC rider, the transition from the Grand Depart to home country roads. Its important to race organisers to visit as much of their country as possible but logistics constraints don’t often make for the best stages.
With not much to going on at the start i fall back into my default, which is gawping at and photographing the nice bikes , although my normal photo companion isn’t too keen…i like to sneak a few in…surely every one likes a nice shiny pro bike
As has been the theme this year, security is much more visible and present at this years races, but in a change from the armored trucks and machine guns today it was shown in a much more lovable form, who doesn’t love a happy looking puppy
Contrary to my thoughts at the start of the day it wasn’t going to finish as a damp squib, there was excitement inbound for the race and also for me, although potentially curtailing some for the remainder of the race.
Despite looking like he was going to be the dominant force in this years sprint stages Marcel Kittel was noticeably absent from the bubble of sprinters charging at the finish line. but given the events it was potentially a lucky happenstance to miss out.
With Mark Cavendish desperate to salvage a season marred by injury and illness with some success at the Tour any stage without Kittel in contention was going to be an opportunity not to be missed. Baring that in mind you could possibly apportion some or most of the blame on the Manx Man for the resulting crash when trying to fit two cyclists in a space only meant for one. The race jury seemed to take the opposite view laying the blame squarely on Peter Sagan for what seemed like a deliberate elbow. Not sure i really agree but the still image doesn’t really do him any favours, either way it left the race poorer by two great characters one disqualified and the other injured.
With that bit of Drama out the way it was time for some excitement of my own…
There is always a margin of doubt when booking accommodation for the tour, you often end up in the middle of no where, well outside the comfort zone of any city or large town hoping that you can find the place, its actually open when you arrive and that they have your reservation.
I was hoping that this was not the case today, it was so close to the finish and start the next day it was almost too good to be true, the Sat Nav got us there with no problem and it was open, that was two big tick boxes filled. The final hurdle almost toppled us, despite presenting printed confirmation of the reservation, the original emails there still seemed to be an issue. I am not sure quite how Pete and I managed it but eventually, seemingly reluctantly took us to the room he had for us…mission accomplished!
Possibly the worst thing was seeing the proprietor try and do this to the next two parties to turn up, one pair gave up almost instantly and drove off in search of alternative accommodation, the other (a fellow snapper) did not give up so easily. One very heated phone call to booking.com it was finally sorted and had was allowed to have a room.
Thankfully the 2nd beer really toned down any potential awkwardness of watching this unfold knowing we had a bed for the night