By Will Frischkorn
First up, rest days rock. After two weeks of racing, a day to relax a bit and kick back is like Christmas when you still believe in the big man. A morning to sleep late, eat a ridiculous amount of food, tool around on the bike for a while (preferably on some beautiful country Italian roads), grub down a bit more, sleep, then sleep a bit more, get a massage, eat another stupid amount of food, and then sleep again, ideally at least 10 hours.
At breakfast this morning you could see it on every face around the table — just a bit more life than 24 hours prior. Or maybe that just was the espresso showing through …
Apparently it was the former — the race truly lit up for the first 40k. The battle for the move was brutal, and when things finally did snap it was a big group that rolled up the road. The field sat up, took a few minutes to regroup, stock up with bottles, and settle down before the climb now not far off.
A little bit of positioning action and we were quickly in for the haul. Two loooong drags were ahead and with the second over 25k long, finishing with a brutal kick.
I didn’t see much more of what went down at the front after this point … gruppetto had my name all over it. What started as a group of around 20 was probably 70 guys by the end of the second climb. McEwen is the bus driver here for sure and I pity the fool that decides to try and set a pace he doesn’t approve of. We’ve got a pretty large English-speaking contingent at the back and it’s awesome to be in France and make a French guy feel out of place; a little twist on the norm that puts a smile on the face at times when a smile is needed.
By the top of the last pass the pace was pretty chill and looking around a bit was unreal. I would have done anything to jump six months ahead and swap my bike for some skis. We’d been above tree level for what felt like hours and on mountains that made the back bowls of Vail look like toys. Thinking of winter already???
Time to snap back … tomorrow has another few bumps in the road to say the least. Christian had a tough day out there today and with some other changes as well at the top of the classification it’s going to be aggressive once again from the gun.