So, the Tour de France has started and everyone is happy that everything is finally underway. Sitting around and waiting in our rooms doing nothing is pretty nerve-racking and we all have big questions about ourselves and how we're going to pull up for the prologue.
Today I certainly felt that the first three or four minutes were such a violent effort. The legs got a bit of a shock and the lungs were burning, but I got it together in the second half. I think it will take me a few days to really get on top of it.
I'm pretty excited by the weeks ahead. I feel that my form is on par with other years. The difference this year is that I'm mentally more relaxed. I've done the best I could preparation-wise to get the best out of myself. I have just come off three weeks at altitude to get to the best condition possible.
It was great to see Tony [Martin] do so well today. The team made a wise decision to put our strongest rider off early after studying the weather pattern and we took the risk out of it a little bit by spreading our strongest time trial riders out throughout the field with Tony, Maxime and myself instead of having all three ride in the final part of the race. So it worked out well.
We have some nervous stages coming up. Tomorrow is the sprinters' chance to stamp their authority on the race. Anything could happen with the wind and we'll have to see the wind direction in the morning but it will for sure be quite a nervous race. I'm sure Saxo Bank will control the race early and we'll see the sprinters' teams come to the front toward the end to get their sprinters in position.
So anyway, we're happy to get this show on the road. For GC riders, now starts the patience game. The game of trying not to lose any time and to conserve as much energy as possible. Something could happen on stage 7 or 8 with the first mountain stages but overall the race will be won or lost in the Pyrenees.