beaten before we got to the first of the mountains. The feeling in air within in the peloton was nothing that I had ever felt before. Armstrong was on a mission and this time it wasn?t about going to the moon. He wanted to be the first, the first to six consecutive TDF victories and on this day everyone could feel that nothing was going to stop him...
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Pyrenees out of the way, it was on to a transition stage across to the
Alps and then a rest day. On the stage from Carcassonne to Nimes, I had a couple of failed attempts at breakaways which punched my ticket for the day, leaving me to ride in the peloton as the break, which went after the one I had a go with, stayed away to the finish. Same old, same old!
After the stage, we had to fulfill our TV commitments with an appearance on the French show, ?Velo Club? and so was late back to the hotel. Luckily the T.V fella didn?t ask me any questions?Don?t reckon my French would?ve been up to scratch.
The rest day in
Orange was nice. I was able to catch up with Sarah Ulmer and Brendon Cameron, who called in to the hotel on their way down to the NZ training camp in Limoux. Carole was also back from her couple of days down home in
Spain and was with a group of our friends from NZ. After the past few days of hard mountain stages and long transfers, it was good to unwind a little and prepare for the final week which was going to be a hard one.
The return to racing after a rest day is always hard but entering into the
Alps was exciting and the number of spectators around was phenomenal. By the time we got to the start of the TT up Alpe d?Huez, I couldn?t believe the buzz that filled the air. The atmosphere was simply mind-blowing and the TT itself was something else. I had never been up Alpe d?Huez before so I didn?t know what to expect. All I knew was that to make the time-cut, I had calculated that I needed to average 18km/hr. No easy task! After about a km after the start (all on the flat), my computer stopped working. Nice!!! Just what I needed. Now all I could do was go as hard as I could. When I hit the climb, I couldn?t see anything but people. I shit you not. There wasn?t an inch of the road or sides of the road that wasn?t filled with bodies. The only tarmac I could see was that just in front of my nose and was only able to find my way through the masses as the sea of people parted at the very last second. Luckily I was going slow so wasn?t ever in danger of going the wrong direction. It was amazing though. There aren?t words that could ever describe the passion that oozed from the fans. It?s something that