- By Daryl Impey
The day has finally arrived and we’re on the home stretch to Paris. What a journey is has been so far, it’s hard the believe that nearly a month back we were in Liege doing recon. There have been some tough days out there accompanied with a lot of stress. But, the show is not over just yet, we’ve got one more day and one last chance to win a stage here and hopefully it will be this one. We’ve got a good chance and everyone had an easy day on TT bikes yesterday so we should be good to go.
I haven’t seen my wife for a full month so it will be great to see her in Paris afterwards. The team has organised a lunch at the race for all of them, so I’m sure all the wives and girlfriends of my teammates would have had a few glasses of champagne by the time we finish. I can already see myself getting goosebumps on the first lap on the Champs-Élysées. My wife has already told me that there are thousands of cyclists/fans waiting for us in Paris.
After the race we are all spending the night in Paris and having a team dinner together, which should be nice and could maybe even be a bit messy for some. I’d love to have a few beers but the Olympics is next Saturday so I will have to wait until I finish that. It will be good to be able to switch off for just a bit, anyway.
The final week in the Tour is where you see all the difference. Amazing to see some guys actually getting better but the majority of us are all getting tired and the fighting in the group for space at the front has definitely gone. A lot of guys are just going through the motions to finish the Tour and getting to Paris is their only objective. I am one of those :) Although I have been able to do my job at the end in the sprints, I have definitely felt the 3 weeks of racing and torture I have put my body through. Everyday you just wake up with sore legs and you get minor injuries in weird places like your hands, neck, elbows, knees and my rear-end has had enough of the saddle. Time to sit on something more comfortable, like the coach or even better, the beach.
As I said, tomorrow I leave to go to London for the Olympic Games where I will spend a couple of days seeing the course and getting ready for my first Olympics. It has been a really special year for me and I am really thankful to all my friends, family, sponsors and supporters for always being there for me.
Right, for now, it’s one more stage! Time to hurt and get the train right and hopefully pull off that stage win we have been hunting since Liege. The first 60km may be easy but then it’s full gas once we hit the finishing circuits and everyone wants to try eliminate a bunch kick but we’ll be trying to make it one.
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