Will Frischkorn’s Tour de France diary, stage 20

It’s been three weeks since we left Brest for the start of this thing and after today’s TT stage we find ourselves back in a Campanile, a hotel that takes the cookie-cutter room model to the max. The feeling of déjà vu is out of control, at least until you step outside. It’s strangely fitting however, in an odd sort of way. Tomorrow we head to Paris for one of the grandest sporting spectacles in the world, a slick hotel, huge dinner and evening out to follow, but tonight we’re off in the middle of nowhere, relaxed as can be, and feeling like it’s any another day.

By Will Frischkorn

An early morning shot of our intrepid diarist.

An early morning shot of our intrepid diarist.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

It’s been three weeks since we left Brest for the start of this thing and after today’s TT stage we find ourselves back in a Campanile, a hotel that takes the cookie-cutter room model to the max. The feeling of déjà vu is out of control, at least until you step outside. It’s strangely fitting however, in an odd sort of way. Tomorrow we head to Paris for one of the grandest sporting spectacles in the world, a slick hotel, huge dinner and evening out to follow, but tonight we’re off in the middle of nowhere, relaxed as can be, and feeling like it’s any another day.

The time trial certainly didn’t provide the upsets that people were expecting.

There was a little bit of a GC shuffle but no massive changes. Christian rode a fantastic race, right into the top-five on the overall, and Sastre certainly proved that he was the worthy winner of a hard fought Tour. A lot of us were surprised that Cadel didn’t put in the scorcher expected, but he’ll surely be back to fight it out in the future.

For half of us on the team, it was a day to simply get through – one to check off the list – and get one step closer to tomorrow’s grand finale. At 53ks however it still stung a bit. With already heavy legs, at this point very accustomed to the position of the road bike, to jump on the extreme position of a TT rig and even just go a hard tempo for over an hour takes the upper glutes and puts them in knots.

The evening after a TT we all walk around with an even more pronounced shuffle than normal. One of the doctors joked the other day after hearing a couple of us slide our way down the hotel hallway that he thought for a moment he was in a retirement home. Then he came in a bit later to see us in the ‘space legs’ and the thought was pretty much confirmed.

It’s amazing, at this point in the race especially, how single-purpose the body becomes; and walking isn’t its purpose.

With a request to the chef for burgers and beers followed by a bit of ice cream this evening it’s almost time to head off for grub, and while we’re not done yet, there’s a feeling of finality around the whole crew for sure.

Just one last morning left of the normal routine and then we’re done. It’s going to be odd to wake up Monday and not have to head down for a race meal, pack up the bags for the soigneurs, chamois up and head out to the bus. I have a feeling however that after a long morning in bed and a brunch to soak up some of the damage from the night before it might not be that hard to adapt.