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Stage 3 was real TDF!

July 3, 2012

Today the race moved from Belgium into France for the first time. A 197km stage from Orchies near the Belgian border to the northeastern seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer. It was a hard day…. or that was our opinion watching. Robbie seemed to confirm that……

Here he is.

Today was TDF for real!

This is what we hate AND love about the TDF.

It was supposed to be a relatively “normal day”. Break goes, we bring it back and a hard last 25kms. Right?

Well, it was anything but that! The last 70kms, the roads became smaller than any team was thinking and lot more twisty. Just this made the rider on edge and people started to overreact to EVERY situation.

When a normal road got smaller instead of the rider taking it easy, there were guys actually thinking that this was their chance to make up a few positions. They pass you and then all-of-a-sudden find out that you eased up because of the road furniture or something like that. So the guy who has just passed you, can’t just brake normally (oh no), he HAS to slam on brakes to save his ass and in turn it just causes a huge chain reaction behind.

Guys came down all over the show today! It is never a nice thing to watch, or even worse- be at the bottom of those crashes.

I was behind a few crashes today and eventually I just thought “ok, I’m staying where I am”. If my guys drop it,  I am going to be called back none-the-less, to pull them back to the group.

At one point guys crashed and I just stopped on the side, unclipped my foot and took a breather. Was rather amusing to watch guys grabbing their bikes, running around the crashed guys still down in the grass and doing all crazy shit.
When the road cleared a path I made my way through to find my team who had crashed and did my job of bringing them back. Sounds easy….. but man, I almost died a few deaths in the last 50kms today. (You lucky to be reading this ;-))

One big crash with 25kms to go, split the group to pieces. Luckily (and how I don’t know) Ryder (who was mostly at the back today) missed all the crashes with some super power and was in the first group. Unlucky for the rest of my team who had to chase to try and limit the loses.

Tyler; DZ and I had to break ourselves- just to get Christian to the second group but he managed to bridge up on a small climb 10kms to go, thank goodness.

So 3 stages in and the team has now 1 leader in Ryder (not that there has been any doubt). When other team members are down on time sometimes it is easier to sacrifice your own ambitions. Everybody has those, no matter who you are. Its the TDF.

Sagan won- as predicted. Again he is classy and makes it look so easy! (Kind of like he is racing against the Juniors.) But trust me… Everybody out there was working today and they gave it everything they had! He is just a step ahead right now. (Especially on these kind of finishes.)

A bunch sprint like tomorrow- it’s a different story.

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s stage actually. Hope it is not raining which they are predicting… And no,  I don’t like risking more than I have to. Maybe I am getting old, but that’s fine. I like my skin when it’s attached to my body!

Predictions for tomorrow.
No rain: Greipel and Tyler
Rain: mmm….. no idea.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2012 10:46 pm

    thank you again! what a day!
    very sad to lose two racers today.
    Have to pray harder for safety for all
    rest up, I’m glad you’re looking forward to
    tomorrows stage- best wishes for a great & safe
    oh yes, I believe we may be lucky to be reading
    your post –
    you can not fear or worry for it does not help,
    preparation is the key

    • July 4, 2012 11:53 am

      You are completely right… and yes, think we all need to pray that the riders stay safe.

  2. Anton du Toit permalink
    July 4, 2012 4:10 am

    Robby I can’t wait ever day for the blog. Just nice to now what is the conditions you find your self in and better undertstand the race

    • July 4, 2012 11:52 am

      It does give you a completely different perspective. We look forward to it everyday!

  3. July 4, 2012 5:50 am

    Thank you so much Robbie for taking the time and effort in writing this blog everyday, can’t be easy after a hard day like yesterday. Can’t tell you how much I am learning from this – I have always been a great fan of Le Tour but this year is even more exciting- thanks

  4. Rory Harrop permalink
    July 4, 2012 6:54 am

    It is always a very unproductive three weeks for me (Business) when the TDF and other majors are in full swing. Man ! but it is worth it to see how the teams work and handle the carnage of the first weeks racing. Eurosports coverage is pretty good only a pity they don’t have Phil Liggett commentating….Caught many a great shot of you (behind the crash) and then working the boys back up front again, all I can say every rider has my sincerest respect, 21 continues days of that kind of work would kill a mortal man.

    • July 4, 2012 11:51 am

      These men are not mortal…:-)

      • Rory Harrop permalink
        July 4, 2012 4:11 pm

        No that they are definitely not, saw Rob and Cav go bouncing down the road today, awful unnecessary crash…they got up, dusted themselves down, climbed on their bikes and rode to the finish. Had they been FOOTBALLERS they would have taken Helivac to hospital !

      • July 5, 2012 9:30 am

        It was frightening! Real men though.

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