Rest days are harder than race days.
Bear with me on this, okay. On rest days there’s constant stress with so many interviews and media requests, and if you throw in today's coronavirus test that took an hour, the day quickly evaporates. Mentally, it’s a lot tougher to do all these off-the-bike activities but, of course, physically it’s easier and the good thing is that I can do most of my rest-day 'work' from the comfort of my hotel bed.
We were allowed to sleep this morning until 9:30 am, which was definitely needed after nine hard stages. Once we were up, we took our time over breakfast, called our friends and families, and then went for a ride a couple of hours.
We killed two birds with one stone by riding to the corona test centre and then continued the ride after that. Once we were back, I cleaned all my kit and then had lunch, interviews, massage, and then another batch of interviews. When I put it like that, it doesn't like the most thrilling day of my life but trust me, it's full-on.
The first week of my debut Tour has been a tough but at times enjoyable experience. The first stage in Nice was a great way to start with second place in the sprint, and both Richie and Bauke are riding well on GC after the Pyrenees. They lost some time on the crosswind stage but they’re still fighting and looking good. Richie got his second child a couple of days ago, so he’s super happy and motivated and the mood within the camp is relaxed and upbeat.
Looking back to the crosswinds on stage 7, I fucked up in the beginning. I was sitting way too far back at the start of the stage and I wasn’t on a great day to begin with. It was just too hard but it was a big amateur mistake for me to start that far back in the peloton. It ended up being an expensive day for us but Richie and Bauke are both motivated to get the time back and we’ll do everything that we can to support them.
On the positive side, the first stage was a special day and it was crazy with those roads in and around Nice but I appreciated, and I hope fans did too, that the peloton came together as one on the downhills and neutralized the stage until we got to some safer conditions. I have to hold my hand up and admit that I made a mistake in the final by not following my teammates in the last few hundred meters, and who knows, maybe I could have won that stage but second wasn’t a bad result and of course it netted me the white jersey.
The historians reading this will have to correct me but, apparently, I’m only the third rider after Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong to hold both the rainbow jersey and the white jersey at the Tour de France at the same time. I don’t know if saw but the production of the jersey for stage 2 was something really special. It was predominately white but still had the rainbow bands and the Trek logo in the middle.
I was given a few pieces of kit, some long and short sleeve versions, and I’ve already shared them out inside the team with some of the staff but the jersey I wore, with the numbers pinned on, will come back home with me and sit in a special place.
Looking ahead, we have some good days ahead of us. Stage 10, which I’m probably racing now as you read this, looks great for me. I’m not sure if it will be a crosswind or a headwind but I’m hoping for a good sprint over the next two stages and I think if I get a good result on stage 10 I’ll be able to keep the strike and aim for stage 11 too.
I know that some tough days are ahead in the mountains but I’ve have some laughs in the gruppetto so far. It’s usually the sprinters’ teams that organize the group for us and keep us at the right pace on the climbs and the descents, and they know how to play the game. The pace is still solid but few of us heavier Danes sit at the back. It does mean that although I’m rooming with Niklas I’m not seeing him that often on the gruppetto days.
Maybe when we reach the mountains I’ll change my mind about how tough the rest days are but right now I need my sleep. It’s going to be another big day tomorrow so cross your fingers for me.
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