It was one of those blessed series of coincidences, fate, good luck or guiding hands. We went from the gloom and despair of sheltering from a monumental thunderstorm, wondering how the hell we would get home, to discovering the beating heart of France thanks to the kindness of strangers we are now lucky to call friends.
Gord's Roadside Wrap: It’s always a weird, exhausting, exhilarating experience following the Tour de France, and it takes days before you emerge, blinking in the daylight of real life, from the mayhem of driving, chasing, writing. Then you start to look back. You start to scan through the photos that didn’t make the stories; the ideas that you didn’t use; the things that just didn’t fit at the time.
Roadside St.19: Lance's latest super sleek time trial bike set cheek by jowl with glorious bronze statues cast to honour heroes of the French Revolution - only at le Tour, mon ami! PEZ left our glorious digs in the Chвteau Meyre and headed for a pre-chrono wander around the ancient streets of Bordeaux.
Analysis St.20: It goes without saying that winning the Tour de France is very difficult, both physically and mentally. The winning margin can also have an impact on the amount of physical and emotional stress a rider experiences. The smaller your advantage over the man in second place, the more stressful the race becomes.
Roadside St.19 The French radio car tries to muscle Dave off the wheel, but Dave’s ridden too many road races to let that happen and we tuck back in alongside the Sky team car. Stage 19, Tour de France 2010, a 52 kilometre time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac and PEZ is on the wheel of one of the fastest men in the world – Sky’s British elite road race champion, Geraint Thomas.
Analysis St. 18: After 19 days of racing Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador are separated by just 8 seconds. These two have not been any more than 42 seconds apart in the overall standings since the prologue. So if they’re so even in terms of strength, how is that we’re so quick to give Alberto Contador a huge advantage in tomorrow’s 52-kilometer TT? If they’re inseparable in the mountains, why would we expect to see a big difference between their performances in the time trial?
Roadside St.18: Is Contador on the way out? Why is Cav out of the running for the green jersey? Who'll win the final time trial? Can Robbie McEwen win one of the last two stages? And why isn't Ivan Basso going well? At the start of stage 18 at Sailes-de-Bearn, we asked the men who know better than most the answers to these questions.