We’ll take the rain, we’ll take the cold. We’ll take the crashes and we’ll take the defeats but on today’s stage something happened that we’ll never accept as bike racers: getting shot at. Yeah, that's right, you heard me correctly - getting shot at.
My teammate, Julien Dean, was unbelievably shot at with an air gun during today’s stage and was hit in the hand. It goes without saying that it’s not something you really expect in a cycling race. Maybe it was kids being stupid or we’d hit a small French town that had never seen the Tour and decided to open fire on a moving peloton, but anyone having that kind of intent is scary. Who knows what the meaning of that was?
The stage itself was good for me and I had good legs, unlike yesterday when I was struggling after my crash the previous day. Today it was all about keeping Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vande Velde out of trouble and sticking with them on the climbs, giving them as much assistance as I could. It took a while for things to settle down today but once a break had gone up the road we were able to relax a bit as there was no one threatening to the overall.
The conditions were a big factor on the racing. Like I said, my legs were good but it would have been absolutely horrible if I’d been feeling below par.
The conditions were the main factor today. They magnified the difficulties of racing significantly, especially with the big climbs and some technical descents. It makes the race harder for everybody.
I those circumstances I try to focus on what needs to be done and not worry about the conditions too much. They’re there, just deal with it. If it’s raining I can’t go back to the car and say, ‘Oh, it’s raining today boss, I can't do my job’. Part of cycling is dealing with whatever is thrown your way and if the elements aren’t to your liking you just have to get on with it.
Right now the team are travelling to the next hotel, where we’ll rest up and have dinner. We see a lot of hotels at the Tour - usually a different one every night – and they seem to merge into one after a while. I don’t what tonight’s will be like. Probably just like last night’s, whatever that was like.