- By Daryl Impey
Two big days in the mountains have just passed us and I am relieved. Yesterday went pretty well and I got through the day relatively easy but today was another story. On from the word go and once we hit the first HC climb of the day it was just in pieces. I had some great legs and managed to climb with the leaders up the Madelaine but got dropped on the 2nd HC of the day. I thought that I was well ahead of the grupetto so rode the next two climbs a bit easier but I am glad I did because had I not I would still be riding. Anyhow the grupetto caught my group on the final climb and we got word that we had to finish within 35min of the winners otherwise be eliminated. So 10km to go, it was a race from behind to make the cut. I was seeing stars at the finish today but we made it within 2mins, so we couldn’t have gone much slower. There were guys sprinting in who had been dropped to avoid getting kicked off the Tour. Today I realised why it is the hardest race out there. The field is just so strong, one bad day and you could be well on your way. Thank goodness I had good legs today. I still don’t even know who won.
I met one of the nicest groups of Saffa fans out there today at the finish. They were on top of Colombier yesterday too. They have done it properly, dressed from head to toe in SA flags and their camper fan is also decorated in our flag. I asked my team if they saw them today to give them something for their support. They gave them some VIP passes for tomorrow’s stage to show how much we appreciate their support. I really love seeing the flag out there and it motivates me when I hear my name being shouted. The Tour is special and I am slowly falling in love with this race.
Tomorrow is another big day and we’re hoping for an easier start although that won’t happen. We’ll try and keep Sagan in the main group so he doesn’t try snap up any points and then hopefully on Saturday we’ll have a go for the sprint again. Right now I’m just putting the feet up and waiting for my massage after the race, I need one so badly. I can feel we have done 11 stages, my body is starting to show some signs of fatigue but then again so is everyone else, except for Froome. Man, he is moving well. I think he is going to win it and I also hope he does.
Anyway, rest and recover is what’s left of the day. Time to relax and wait for dinner time.
Riding his first Tour de France, Daryl is only the third South African ever to have raced at the Tour. He will be blogging exclusively for Bicycling for the Tour’s duration. Log on daily for his blogs from inside the peloton and behind the scenes in France. Follow him on twitter @darylimpey