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Posted on: 12th July 2014

Alpes

After a couple of big days in the mountains—3800m on Wednesday and up to 2800m on Thursday—we made a slight adjustment to Friday’s program to better match the weariness of our legs.

However, everyone was still eager to ride the mountain top climb that the stage would endure, the 1750m Chamrousse. The route of LeTour virtually passed our hotel door, so it was just a matter of following the yellow brick road. 

Everybody has improved their climbing abilities since we began the Alsace to Alpes Tour a week ago. Back in the day when I was racing, I would come down to do the recon of the Tour de France peaks and I would likewise sharpen my climbing abilities over a couple of weeks of repeats.

While some chose to descend to the air-conditioned comfort of the bar at the hotel to watch the race on the big screen, others chose to witness the champions up close and personal as they struggled against gravity and the stifling heat in the final meters to the line. 

Vincenzo Nibali continues to show his dominance and like Wiggins in 2012 and Froome last year, is proving a level above everybody else. It’s a great shame that Richie Port faulted and that a challenge to the Sicilians lead is diminishing with each kilometer ridden.

What is fresh is the number of rising stars, a new generation coming to the fore. France now has two riders (Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot) in the top 5. The birth country of the sport hasn’t seen such potential for many years now.

It was farewell this morning to our guests from our second tour and reflecting on the past week, everybody admitted surpassing their expectations in achieving summits and descents through some of the world’s most beautiful country. 

We had a truly gastronomical farewell dinner last night in a beautiful setting in a courtyard under a canopy of plain trees, depicting what summer in Europe is about. 

From the opening champagne cocktail to the closing espresso, every course was something to be remembered. 

My next update will be from our Pyrenees tour, where we’ll be riding some of the great peaks of Southern France and witnessing the final exciting throws of the battle for podium places.

Written by Phil Anderson


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