Yet another stage in the Alps, again a battle against one’s weaker self and a fight to achieve the aims of the team. Depending on how such a stage begins also decides how you’re going to get through the day. The first climb of the day was the “Col de la Colombiére” after 16.5 kms and was the first tough nut we had to crack. When the good riders in the peloton then started attacking it was all hands to the pumps and during moments like these it’s just a question of hanging in there. After all, the stage is 204.5 kms and if you already have problems really early on, then that could spell the end of your Tour de France.
Now it’s a simple fact that riders like me just aren’t among the top climbers in the Tour de France. That means I have to ride beyond my limits so that I don’t need to be worried about not finishing the event. While the top riders in the Tour de France still have plenty of reserves on a climb, your heart is already in your mouth and the sweat is running down your face. This means that you simply can’t think straight and you do things that you normally just wouldn’t do. Then you charge down the descent with all the other riders and God only knows how you got down to the bottom in one piece. Your glasses are so covered in sweat that you ask yourself at the end of the stage just how you were able to look through them. Sometimes I really do believe that your body blocks out your brain functions to give you just that little bit extra power. It’s really crazy when you try to remember certain parts of the stage and find that you just can’t.
This is what distinguishes a pro sportsman from an average athlete. Because who voluntarily pushes himself over and above the most extreme limits?
See you tomorrow,