By Christian Vande Velde, CSC Professional Cycling Team
So if you go faster, is it cooler?
We experimented with that idea today as we averaged almost 30mph over the course of the stage today. And the answer is, it just gets you to the finish line faster.
It was still in the upper 90s today but, after the last few days, that now feels cool. I even saw some clouds today, but I still lost five pounds during the race.
Michael Barry, our guy Jacob Piil and a few friends set off around the 60k mark today and I really thought that they were going to pull it off. If they had managed to stay away, it would have put Michael in the jersey with Jacob the likely one for the win. It would’ve been cool for both of our teams, but the sprinters got a whiff of the finish line and that was that.
The final climb today was right out of the Tour of Flanders: Cobbles up a climb for 2km and then downhill to the finish.
We were all fighting for the front before the climb knowing that it would surely split the field, as it did. There was a smooth section on the road and if you found yourself on this, you were golden, if not… well, you weren’t.
Anyway Thor won and made a massive turn-around for his team which was last seen in the Vuelta in ‘98 with just one rider left in the race after 10 days. The team finally asked that lone rider to stop and go home because, well, it was just embarrassing. So the Crédit Agricole guys cleared the team’s name today.
Just a quick note that the biggest cabrón of the field, Angel Vicioso (Liberty-Seguros), made me laugh my ass off yesterday. It is a common occurrence in the peloton that when you are handing water bottles out, and you can’t reach one of your teammates, you hand a bottle over to a another person who will in turn hand it off to your teammate.
Yesterday, Angel took a bottle from one of the Relax riders, looked at it and threw it into the ditch. The Relax rider almost shit and we were all in stitches watching this unfold. Angel is still one of my best friends from when we were teammates last year, but I will never hand him bottle.