Tour de France – WW1

This year’s tour has as its theme a commemoration of the centenary of WWI. Stage five of the Tour de France visits Ypres, which is a city in Belgium where many lives where lost during the WWI. Each night, 365 days a year, there is a ceremony in respect for the lost soldiers. 43000 Australians died in the fields that surround this Flandrian town. We attended a very moving service there where Australians are praised for their efforts defending the Western Front 100 years ago.

So far everybody’s predictions of Cav in yellow after Stage one and a strung out field for stage two have been wrong. It was a pretty select group on the front coming into the finish in Sheffield and seeing Contador and Froome attacking so early on was a real treat. 

It was unfortunate that Cavendish knocked off our Gerro. That is the way these sprinters ride and if Gerro wants to ride the sprints, which he is doing more frequently, then I think he’ll to need to find a bit more mongrel.

At last year’s Legends Dinner at the TdU Cav was a guest of honour and was interviewed by Paul Sherwin. When the question of head-butting in the final throws of a sprint came up, the Manx Man described a little of what it’s like during those fleeting moments. He said that with a firm grip on the bars, it is often your head that’s used to push your way through a gap, and this can come in the form of a head-butt. 

He went on to say that you are so focused you have no idea who you are pushing around and he said half the time he is possibly head butting his teammates. I’m sure he knows exactly where the other key players are though, and he may just need to add Gerro to that list soon.

It was upsetting to see Gerro fighting to keep contact with the group coming to the finish in Sheffield. He is a fighter and he must have been shaken up badly yesterday after that touchdown because normally that finish would have been right up his cracker. Hopefully he can hide amongst the wheels, recover for a few days and look for a stage later in the race.

We’ve been riding the same roads as the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix just to get an appreciation of what the peloton will be experiencing. It’s safe to say that it’s the kind of challenging terrain that only a delicious Belgian brew can help with.  Check out some of our photos at the bottom of the page.

The Belgian’s are possibly the biggest cycling fans in the world, and the excitement about the next couple of stages of le Tour visiting their country is palpable.

I’ll be posting updates as the race progresses through Belgium and into France. The cobbles should provide some spectacular racing, especially with Cancellara not tied to supporting a GC rider this year. I think he showed his intentions on Stage one and we can expect some fireworks in the next couple of days from him.

Written by Phil Anderson

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