Sunday, 23 June 2013

Corsican carnage

Although a relatively short hop away it was a long day on Friday travelling to Porto Vecchio. A lot of us arrived late for our Tour briefings as the plane left Nice late. Not a great start but the experience of flying in a propeller job is always great value. Landing was like a roller-coaster ride. 

The first thing that struck me on arrival is just how organised the Tour is. There are a crack team of mechanics, physios, doctors and soigneurs dealing with 80 riders at the moment. Nothing is too much bother. It is a military operation, but definitely assisted by the great attitudes and friendliness of the riders. We room share on Tour and it is a good way to get to know your with team mates. Having been to British boarding schools growing up I am well versed at mucking in and getting on with it. I'd say that formative experience has also prepared me well if I ever end up in prison. That's a tale for another day. My roomies Andy and then Morten the Dane have been spot on. 

The second thing that struck me is just how good some of the riders are here and how much I am enjoying getting in the mix with them. It's a real test. Stage 1 saw us cover off 130 relatively flat miles at a roasting 19.5mph average along the coast road to Bastia. Cooking on gas. Stage 2 today, was a 105 mile test through the Corsican mountains in 34c. I tried to stick with the climbers on the first climb but backed off on the 1200m second peak. Even still, I was hurting by the end, probably paying for yesterday's efforts and not yet having found my alpine legs. It will come, patience being the key. 

Tomorrow is our last Corsican stage before we board the overnight ferry to Nice. We roll off the boat in Nice earlyon Monday for the 25km time trial (fashion parade) before having the rest of the day to ourselves. I've enjoyed Corsica - it's a beautiful place - but I'll be pleased to get back to the mainland. For the Tour, it feels like a bit of a sideshow with the main event really getting started in Nice. One to come back to for a proper holiday, whatever they are!

Here's a few snaps to give you a flavour... a nice view to wake up to this morning, yours truly sporting the Italian fluro look and the main guys I've been riding with at today's finish...Elton (John), Phil and Simon. Top lads.