Another rest day has arrived and the plan is for a really relaxed day. We'll have a 50km ride, Chris was the only one doing media. Also, my parents are here so I get to see them for the first time in months so that's nice.
We know that Tuesday's a hard stage. We've been here before and it blew to pieces at the start in the cross-winds and there's some hard climbs. Then there's the famous Beloki – Armstrong descent into Gap. It's certainly not going to be an easy day then to follow the time trial on Wednesday is a really hard one. For me it's going to be an RDO because this race is going to go down to the wire. Chris is in a great position but we're not counting our chickens before they hatch. Everyone in the race is tired, and stressed, there's a lot of tension between all the teams. Yesterday for example, without naming names, one team decided to attack when the yellow jersey had stopped to take a piss, things like that, but this is the Tour. You can't expect any favours. The motto is flick or be flicked.
I've seen Chris do a lot of great things but being Mont Ventoux, I think Sunday's effort was his best. It's the most impressive win I've seen him have. When you look at his palmares now and he's got Peña Cabarga, then last year the La Planche des Belles Filles... he's got a knack for taking out the big stages. This time it was Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day in the wake of a lot of pressure on Sky. People were saying that our team wasn't strong and this and that but I think he silenced a few critics which inevitably then opens up a whole different can of worms.
Full credit to Quintana, he attacked really early while Chris was still sitting on the wheels. Because Quintana attacked from a long way out, I think Chris was just that little bit fresher near the top. The thing with Chris is what you saw out there on Ventoux is his bread and butter. He can be explosive. Those surges are what really hurts the other guys on the climbs. You can never train for that intensity but that ride that you saw on Ventoux is not dissimilar to the efforts that we do in training.
Time for a clarification of sorts. People said to me that I was smiling on Ventoux. I don't think it's a smile, it's just how it is. My good mate Cameron Wurf said it's a snarl but maybe it's my blank look. If you're on the front of a bike race and you can feel that you're putting the hurt on, that's a massive source of inspiration to keep going. I would have liked to have gone a bit further but Chris was just gone. Put it this way, if I know that Bjarne Riis is in the car and my face is contorted, he's going to pass on to Alberto that Richie's hurting.
Speaking of Alberto, he was brilliant, he was the only other guy apart from Quintana who could follow Chris. True to form, he's getting better as the race goes on and he's not done yet. It's a bit sad for us to see Mick riding along in Saxo colours and I believe that he's proving to be their biggest weapon. Anyone that knows Mick knows that he's the smartest, most calculated guy going around. He's a massive bonus for them. Money can't buy experience like that. Last year on the road, Mick made some really hard calls – do we chase to bring it back for Cav or do we let it go? – Mick was the one who would inevitably say no, we're going to make too many enemies in the bunch. If Mick was behind you or with you, everything was fine. He thinks an hour in advance with what's going on.
With the stages left to come, for me individually, I can't have any ambitions. But, my personal ambition is to see my mate win the Tour de France. I'm looking forward to l'Alpe d'Huez and getting the job done. It's going to be a special day with the crowds up there. The second time up is going to be insane and it's really hard to get your head around going up there twice in the last week of the Tour but everyone's in the same boat. You just have to treat it as any other climb, just with a different name.
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