|Hmm, how can I fit more bikes onto the car - Photo Credit Stewart Carr|
|van Garderen TdF TT - Photo Credit Stewart Carr|
We made it to France and started our long drive that incidentally led us straight across the Tour de France TT stage that was on that day. Add screaming girls upon that revelation and of course we had to stop and have look at how the pros do it. Trying to tease the girls away from the TdF buzz was like telling a kid its time to go home from the playground, we made it to our very own stage race HQ. There we were joined by the scotswoman Julie "guns" Erskine and Siobhan McNamara and French Woman Clemence Copie for our team and Caroline Martinez as our 2nd driver and media person. The whole race and entourage stayed in a French boarding school, complete with French food in the French canteen (road racers know what that means - baguette and nutella and sugary cereal for breakfast, EVERY DAY!!!). Grand so, so far so good, the team was complete, we were all signed up and ready to race. The race itself was 4 stages: 3 long road stages and 1 ITT. Oh, and allow me to mention that we were there at the height of summer, at about 37 degrees heat during the day.
|Photo Credit Stewart Carr|
Stage 1: We were all dropped eventually. I still wasn't feeling to well and suffered all day, finally getting dropped the 2nd time round the finishing circuit. I found a groupetto to ride with until we were finished, somehow managing to ride an extra lap.... The next day was the ITT, a technical enough course, again in super hot conditions. I had an alright time, placing in the the first third, but not really anything to write home about. Day 3 and 4 were again two long and hard stages, on tiny roads with a huge bunch, up and down and lots of corners and the sun burning down relentlessly. It was crazy! I finished with the bunch both days, but only just about.