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Tour de France

Will Frischkorn’s Tour de France diary, stage 11

After a quality day of rest in Pau, complete with Chipotle burritos, it was straight back into racing today from the second the gun went off. With big time gaps now in place there are a lot of guys no longer a threat on GC and the chances of breakaways making it to the finish are far higher than in the first week. Garmin's strategy has now shifted a bit, moving from being aggressive wild cards to now sitting in the position of protecting an overall contender.

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By Will Frischkorn

After a quality day of rest in Pau, complete with Chipotle burritos, it was straight back into racing today from the second the gun went off. With big time gaps now in place there are a lot of guys no longer a threat on GC and the chances of breakaways making it to the finish are far higher than in the first week.

Garmin’s strategy has now shifted a bit, moving from being aggressive wild cards to now sitting in the position of protecting an overall contender.

While we’ll still be on the lookout for breaks, if the opportunity presents, our one and only real focus is Christian and anything he needs. Most of us are charged with spending our days within an arm’s reach and to be there should the need arise.

After today’s split left the field everybody settled into a nice Lotto-driven tempo. At 100k in there was a solid climb on a tiny – barely one lane – road, and mid-way up the race turned back on. The break stayed well clear and battled out the finish, as everybody had guessed earlier, and the field rolled to the finish in a couple of splits.

I’d avoided the topic after Beltran’s pop, but have heard from a lot of people since then, and now after today’s news….

Very briefly: it’s sad; disappointing; ridiculously stupid; and so not what our sport needs in a time when there really has been a change and that new image has finally been embraced by the press and public.

I think it says something positive as well that people are getting caught. For years there was testing that seemingly accomplished very little, but now, with very few still stuck in the ways of old, people are getting caught. There’s also a threat of jail now, and for those that might have thought it not such a big deal to simply be suspended from the sport, jail is a deterrent. A big one I’d imagine. Enough said on that. I hope that a couple isolated idiots aren’t enough to swing the momentum back in a negative direction and that everybody can stay focused on the beauty, the drama and the quality racing that goes down on the level day in and day out.

And that’s what we’ll be doing tomorrow, the next day, and for the seven that follow as well. Thank you all for following, and loving, the sport for the right reasons and for understanding that change isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been change.