"This year, the UCI’s anti-doping measures were intensified before and during the Tour de France. Over 180 out-of-competition tests were conducted on riders in the weeks leading up to the start of the Tour. In addition, testing being conducted during the Tour includes approximately 400 pre-stage blood screens, 140 post-stage urine controls and 40 post-race blood controls. The most sophisticated analytical techniques are being used by the Paris laboratory, including tests for a range of blood manipulation techniques." - PedalMag
At least the controls appear to be working. 3 riders down, including the yellow jersey wearer. Enough on this depressing subject. Hard day in the saddle yesterday. Just under 5.5 hours. Rode the hour and a half each way to Deinze along the canals. Some big guns came out to play. One dude in white who appears to be know as the "kermis king" made his presence known pretty well. Serious winds and heat were the name of the day. Got a really poor start position near the back, but managed to move up mid pack fairly quickly using my newfound pack riding skills, minimizing my energy use moving up through the middle and through corners. After about 40 minutes I decided to eat as the pace had slowed up. Bad idea. I have still not mastered the art of eating and holding position in an aggressive race such as a kermis. Needless to say, I thought it was a good time as the pace was somewhat easy, so was not worried about falling back a bit. The lesson learned, when the going is easy, the race will get ridiculously hard in short order as Beglians hate to ride easy. And how hard it got! We went from 40km/h through the start/finish to 60km/h through the next straight like nothing. Attacks where flying and as I peeked around the rider in front of me, I saw the gaps opening. Now I was not in a huge amount of trouble holding a wheel, but when I have to close gaps while attempting to spin my 53x11 (biggest gear I have) into a headwind, then I get in trouble. Then try closing numerous gaps as riders pull off. Proud to say I didn't panic as I have, but stayed calm and tried to ride my own tempo. It almost worked too, got onto the tail end of the pack just before the next corner, but just did not have the gas left without some recovery to follow the next accelerations. Needless to say, I have no one to blame for my demise but myself. Lesson learned, so went out training on my own until the end of the race. Ride home, eat dinner, pass out. Race again on Sunday in Inglemunster, so will have another chance to redeem my performance. Little happier today after going over the race. I can see that even with the hard training leading up to the race, I am getting much stronger and smarter. Here's to steady improvement, ciao
ps-more pro spotting's, a Chocolade-Jaques rider out training with a Quick-Step rider near the Kermis yesterday. Apparently the Quick-Step bloke won a stage in the Tour de Belgium last year so had to sign a few autographs and sign pictures of him and his massive Euro mullet.