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Tour de France

Will Frischkorn’s Tour de France diary, stage 9

After yesterday's stressful stage in the rain I woke up this morning feeling a bit groggy for the first time so far. Looking around at breakfast I wasn't the only one; I think there really is something about a day in the rain that wears on the body. As I walked upstairs from breakfast I got a call from a friend, quickly plural, still going strong on the town in Boulder. There was nothing better than some seriously entertaining drunken jibberish to lighten the mood and put a smile on my face — just in time to get kitted up and head down to the bus.

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By Will Frischkorn

Fresh Tour Korn: Frischkorn in the group on Sunday

Fresh Tour Korn: Frischkorn in the group on Sunday

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

After yesterday’s stressful stage in the rain I woke up this morning feeling a bit groggy for the first time so far. Looking around at breakfast I wasn’t the only one; I think there really is something about a day in the rain that wears on the body. As I walked upstairs from breakfast I got a call from a friend, quickly plural, still going strong on the town in Boulder. There was nothing better than some seriously entertaining drunken jibberish to lighten the mood and put a smile on my face — just in time to get kitted up and head down to the bus.

That’s where I am now, the first day in the mountains behind us and a solid drive still ahead. Christian, absolutely killing it out there, jumped up a spot to third overall. Tomorrow’s mountain top finish will take the selection of today and sort it out even further.

Another scorcher off the line today, but with flat and wind-less roads, the first couple moves were mowed down and we covered the first 30k quickly. Once the move did go however the bunch sat up hard and on the by-then slow, chip-seal roads of southern France, the next while was a bit of a slog. Eventually Euskatel came to the front and decided to lay it down. We were hauling. Mystery as to their tactics, but we got back to covering some ground quickly and before we knew it the approach to the Peyresourde was upon us.

With a wide open national road run-in speeds were high and a solid battle on at the front. Once the road kicked up it didn’t take a minute for the grupetto calls to start and I quickly joined the crew. While the guys ahead throttled it we in the back were able to look around a bit. This part of France is spectacular; jagged peaks, clouds swooping through the low points, and steep drops to the valleys below. Simply riding these roads would be amazing. The fact that there are thousands of people lining the roads, more likely than not a bit boozy and screaming at the top of their lungs, even for the grupetto, makes the energy that much more amazing.

On the descents we’d then try and make up some time, and roll the flat bits between in one of the most functional pacelines you’ll ever see; a solid example of sharing the load and getting each other to the line safely within the limit. That’s the game.

Now to get to the hotel, the first that we’ll get to enjoy for more than one night. Not having the daily hassle of packing up and then unpacking upon arrival will be a nice change for sure … and with the day we have tomorrow any little thing that makes life easier will be welcome!