24 April 2008

Tour du Loire et Cher Stage 5, 95km, Blois

A bit late with this update, but better late than never.
The last stage was a 7.6km loop through Blois that we had to do 12 times. Although some sections of road were very bumpy it was otherwise a lovely circuit. Especially for spectators. Cris crossing the river Loire on a lovely old bridge, through town and up a nasty little hill. Made nasty more by the speed we were going rather than the gradient.
As could be expected the race started as if the devil was chasing us! Balls to the wall! Coming over the bridge for the second time and about to go up the hill for the first time we swooped around a traffic circle and someone went straight into some road furniture (in this case small poles 50cm from the pavement, who knows what their actual function is!?).
Now seeing little poles in an unexpected position is not nice at the best of times. But while traveling at over 50km/h it is slightly hair raising. So was the fact that I was flying over bikes and rolling on the floor before I actually realised what had happened.
Fortunately all was well and I was up and chasing back on soon enough. Were it not for the long convoy of team cars I would have never made it back on again...
After that it was hang in there and pretend to recover a bit while thinking of attacking. Of course Jaro was one step ahead of me and went away with a rider from team Krolstone. This turned out to be a good thing as they did an amazing job, staying ahead of the pack for about 5 laps!
Once they were back in the bunch teams were lining things up for the evident sprint, so I decided to try it out myself. Alain tried to get me lined up but coming onto the bridge for the last time I was swarmed by riders on either side. Shows what a great sprinter I am..
After that it was a quick Greek shower, hop into the cars and the 850km drive home. Getting there after 1AM, fortunately with no incidents along the way.

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