Today’s stage was hard right from the start. But that wasn’t much of a surprise—the course was constantly rolling with 2,000 metres of climbing and everybody wanted to be in the breakaway. The attacks just didn’t stop.
Mentally I was ready. But my legs were not quite as prepared. I reached a whole new level of pain today. And it was perhaps the first time that I couldn’t bridge a gap. “Dammit, I’m actually mortal,” I remember thinking.
Then finally a breakaway got off and it felt like everything stopped and there was a big collective sigh in the peloton.
And guess who won? Pierrick Fedrigo. It’s funny but for the last five years or so, only four or five Frenchmen have won stages in the Tour: Thomas Voeckler, Sylvain Chavanel, Sandy Casar, David Moncoutie and Fedrigo, who now has four stage victories—that guy’s a legend.
Personally, I am very happy about the rest day tomorrow. I feel like a ship that has been taking on water until it reaches port; a rest day is my chance to finally repair some of the damage.
But the good news is that we only have three hard days left: Two mountain stages and a long road stage. After that we just have the time trial—a semi-rest day for me—and the final stage to the Champs-Elysees, which is a high-speed party.
Yesterday I saw a sign that read “917 kilometres to Paris” and I thought, “Hey, that sounds doable!”