After yesterday’s dumb maneuvers dragging myself up the climb to Emosson, I took things a bit easier today. Which the first smart thing I’ve done in a while, because today was hot. Not like HOT hot, but at ~30°C (that’s 86°+ F) all day, it was definitely hot enough to slow cook your brain sous vide style. How the riders managed to warm up is beyond me, even with copious use of fans, ice, and cooling vests.
After wandering the team paddocks long enough, it was a brief stop at the start house to catch fans, final pep talks, and final moments before riders began ~30 minutes of hurt.
Then, off to the course - to the Côte de Domancy, specifically. The climb came early in the TT course, but Côte would nonetheless immediately separate wheat from chaff – only 2.5k long, but a leg searing 9.4% average grade, and that’s BEFORE the course climbs an additional 400m. Ouch.
And at last, the finish for the GC leader group
So many pain faces. So many varieties: