The first day started with a 100km stage in the morning and a 19km Team Time Trial in the afternoon.
Naturally the stage in the morning started extremely fast and I was
doing my best to cover most dangerous moves, but was feeling a bit slow.
Luckily my teammate Thibault made the jump to the good break and we
were able to sit on for the rest of the day.
When we hit the climbs, we always had two or more riders in the moves
that attempted to cross, which was very satisfying as beginning of the
year it was exactly the opposite.
When teams began to chase we quickly got organized and sat behind them to stay out of trouble and make it as easy as possible.
With 7km to go, the peloton got super nervous though and I was swept up and pushed to the back by the forward pressing mob.
The break outfoxed the peloton, stayed clear by 31 seconds and Thibault
easily took the stage win with his unbeatable uphill sprint. What a way
to start the tour!!
Unfortunately the luck left us as quickly as it came. Being the leaders
of the tour we started last in the TTT in the afternoon and while the
first few teams had a mostly dry run through the circuit, it came
bucketing down when it was our turn.
We had such a bad TTT it could've starred in a bad comedy, had someone taped it and the movie was somehow related to cycling.
Firstly we were never in a straight line (mostly trying to avoid getting
all the water from the wheel in front of you into your eyes), went way
too slow on the uphill (in order to keep everyone together as otherwise
they would not make the time limit) and were all over the place on the
descend after which it took us about 3 minutes until we were all
It was horrible.
Some lost their cool a bit and started shouting and gesticulating, others stayed calm and tried to limit the damages.
On the second downhill Benjamin slid out on a wet railway crossing and
we were left with 5 riders (I never heard him crash and thought he got
The last 500m to the line were super steep and had a sharp corner which
was very slippery. As I tried to accelerate out of the corner my
backwheel spun for three complete pedal strokes and suddenly I was 20m
behind the rest of my team.
Luckily there were still 4 riders ahead of me and I just caught them on the line to be given the same time as them.
A bit frustrating to end the day like this after a victory in the
morning, but a TTT needs to be practiced a lot. Most of us don't even
train together. And for one rider it was his first ever TTT. I guess it
was bound to happen.