Stage 4: Cambrai – Reims

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I’m in the middle of France and completely missed watching the Tour today.  I’m ashamed of myself.  I didn’t even catch the highlights outside of what I’m posting.  I feel more defeated than Cavendish would today.

It’s not all bad though.  I left the comfort of the Chalet in Champéry, Switzerland (thank you Mark, Louise and Pat!) and have now arrived to Chamonix, France at the base of Mount Blanc.  Needless to say it’s an absolutely stunning area.  After overdosing on Swiss cheese and chocolate throughout the past week I’m itching for a good long road ride.  By the looks of it there’s no shortage of hills to be conquered around Chamonix.

If anyone is wondering, the batch of stages that I’ll see in person will be 8, 9 & 10.  After that we’ll head over to a village in the Pyrenees to watch stages 13, 15 & 16 and race L’Etape du Tour (thank you to BMC for getting me an entry).  Speaking of L’Etape du Tour, here’s a little tip for you: The ASO insists that you get a signed medical certificate that states you’re healthy enough to smash out 3 mountain passes over 181kms.  There’s no way around it. Even pro riders who do this race need to get a medical certificate.  I spent nearly a day trying to find a doctor who would sign this for me.  In the end I went to an Emergency room to get this done and it cost me $360 CHF (nearly $400 AUD).  A long story, but I’m happy to report that I’m fit, healthy and now broke.

My apologies but I’m gonna have to keep this one short today.  I’m balancing on a chair holding my laptop up high near the window to receive an inadequate wifi connection from across the street.  Time to get a 3G USB modem.  As usual, some Sirotti photos and the daily TdF trivia questions are below.   Bon Soir!

TdF Quiz

Yesterday’s accessory prize pack worth $250 (gloves, armwarmers, etc) was brought to you by Bike Force Docklands.  Congratulations to Michael_in_Sydney for winning. Please get in touch with me and provide your shipping details and sizing preferences (I’ll provide more details over email).   (cyclingtips at gmail dot com)

Yesterday’s answers:

1. In the first Tour De France in 1903, what happened to the first four riders across the line?

A.They were all disqualified for catching the train.
B. They were all attacked at various times during the race by rival fans.
C. All of the above

c = a & b are both correct. To quote Wikipedia, “Such was the passion that the first Tour created in spectators and riders that Desgrange said the second would be the last. Cheating was rife and riders were beaten up by rival fans as they neared the top of the col de la République, sometimes called the col du Grand Bois, outside St-Étienne”.

2. In 1914, Australians Don Kirkham and Iddo ‘Snowy’Munro first rode the Tour de France.  (The only reason I know the answer to this questions is because couple years ago I won the “Snowy Munro” Memorial Race)

3. True – in the early years of the TDF the ‘Lanterne rouge’ (named after the slowest overall rider at the time in Le Tour) was actually required to carry a red lantern on the back of his saddle.

Today’s Quiz

Thanks to our trivia master, Sam

Today’s prize for answering the trivia questions correctly or giving me some insight into what happened in today’s stage is one free entry to Ride The Worlds Melbourne.  On September 5,  you’ll get to celebrate the 2010 UCI World Road Championships (this is a recreational family ride, not a race).

1. Phil Anderson first wore the TDF yellow jersey in 1981. How many days did he wear it in 1982?

A. One.
B. Five.
C. Nine.

2. What is the ‘voiture balai’?

A. The train of sponsors cars etc. coming through before the peleton.
B. The broom wagon (sag wagon).
C. The team cars with Directeur Sportif’s (also known as ‘Les Vache qui rit’).

3. Lance Armstrong came back from cancer and the removal of a testicle to win the Tour De France 7 times in a row. Alberto Contador came back from a brain haemorrhage in 2004 to win in 2007 and 2009. After winning in 1986, what happened to Greg Lemond in 1987 that he came back from to win two more TDF’s?

A. He was hospitalised with a boil and nasty rash on his bottom.
B. He had a serious car crash and broke his leg in four places.
C. He was shot by his brother in law and had 31 shotgun pellets removed.

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