When the tarmac melts…

Today’s stage represents the completion of a third of the “Big Loop” and I can tell all of you out there that it was the first start to a Tour de France stage that was really typical of the event we know so well. In contrast to the attacks on previous stages, today it was considerably more competitive and tougher until the breakaway group came together. We had Mario Aerts up there in the breakaway and therefore just concentrated on Jurgen Van Den Broeck in the main field.

The intense heat over the previous few days had caused the tarmac to become so soft that it made the road surface heat up like a ceramic hob. These enormously high temperatures also tend to cause unexpected crashes, just as it hit both Cadel Evans and Lance Armstrong today. As a rider you have to treat your brakes with a great deal of respect because immense heat and overheating carbon rims can cause the brakes to behave totally differently than in normal conditions. Cornering is also made that much more difficult when the condition of the tarmac is constantly changing.

Carbon is now widely used in frames, rims, stems and seat posts. Even the manufacturers of cycling shoes mainly use carbon in the production of the soles. This firstly makes the shoe super stiff and secondly provides for a better transmission of power to the bike. However, there’s also one disadvantage: aching feet. When the temperatures are so high, the feet can quickly start aching. So don’t be surprised if you all experience that at some point because it’s exactly the same for us.

See you tomorrow

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