What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Rides: TDF Stage 1 Final 5km!

The thing about riding the last 5km of the parcours is that you never really get tired… brilliant really! The Tour organizers were thoughtful enough to plan a couple nights’ stay in Strasbourg, not a bad town at all, but don’t bet on the racers seeing much of it… Here’s a more relaxed view of the last 5km.

Cross the bridge and there are 5 kilometres to go, it’s a nice view to your right with the river and the pleasure boat, but you’ve got a 90 degree right turn coming-up at 50 kph and the prospect of landing in the straw bails if you misjudge it.

A run-in with some furniture could ruin the run-in to the line.

It’s flat, fast and breezy beside the river with the wind moving around, sometimes tail, sometimes cross, the guys serious about winning will need to be real near the front here and their trains will need to be running on time.

4k to go!

The 4 km banner is beside the river and it’s more of the same all the way through to 3 k – flat, fast, windy and scenic, but nobody will be taking their eye off the wheel in front to check-out the views.

3k to go.

Just past the 3 km banner it’s a 90 left, tight and dangerous but into a long straight which is wide, safe and fast, drifting left to the 2 km banner. The wind will play a big part here, but it’s shifting direction and hard to judge where to ride to get best shelter.

It gets a bit dicey inside 2k to go.

It starts to get technical now, 90 right, tight, short straight, 90 left and into a long leafy straight, a nice bit of shade from the 30 degree heat of the sun. At the end of the straight is a bad one, it goes left, but very tightly back on itself and there are some nasty pot holes on the bend.

After some technical love the road opens up and heads straight on into the distance.

This is a bit surprising because yesterday they tarred-over tram lines to give the prologue riders safe passage. Cranked-over and close to the limit, one of those holes could be enough to blow a tub and deck you.

Thar she blows! 1k to go.

The flame rouge is just around the corner and the ducking and weaving can start in earnest. The finish straight is long, wide and fast, drifting slightly right at 500 to go, with the windy conditions it will be hard to judge – leave it late with a tail wind and it will be too fast to get around guys in front, go early with a head wind and you’ll die.

This is where the magic happens.

It’s hot too, I needed a drink after my 15 or so k, never mind 184.

PREDICTION? – Hushovd.

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