Revenge of the Chat 

Stage 9 181km; Nantua- Chambery

Neil Ashton from Sky Sports has joined us for 10 stages. He rode with Geoff in 2005 and has taken his cycling seriously since. Sporting a barely legal beautiful new Colnago C60, he looks super fit and with fresh legs, a great guy to have with us.

This was always going to be a tough day. 4600m of elevation and 7 climbs.

I was asked if I would like to take over the Instagram page for SiS, which was a huge honour so I picked this stage as one that I felt would best showcase our challenge.

My good friend Phil lives in Geneva, we rarely see each other these days. At 4 years my senior when I started cycling as a 15 year old I looked up to Phil (guess I still do). He’s a classy bike rider and always great to chat and ride with so when I got a text saying he would ride out to the barrage 35km in and ride to the top of the Biche, it was a great start to the day, although he did make my legs hurt, some things never change!

Unfortunately the skipper suffering with infection from his fall had to climb off on the Biche. We are all hoping that the rest day and flatter stages may help him recover.

When the 2017 Tour de France route was unveiled, some criticism was that the big summit finishes had been missed. The Col d’Izoard apart, there was no iconic Alpe d’Huez or Ventoux.

But as we found out yesterday this is the hardest stage of the 2017 Tour. After a tough start, there are three HC climbs all averaging at least 9 per cent

The Biche

Grand Colombier

Mont du Chat

The Mont du Chat is renowned for being one of the toughest mountains ever used in the Tour. 10.3% for 8.7km is brutal and the 28 sprocket wasn’t really low enough for it, however I was super motivated to climb it the best I could. Many we passed had to walk as the climb was relentless.

I caught a rider 4km from the summit but he clawed his way back and then we spent the last 2km riding side by side, mouths open catching flies, grinding away.

I sprinted for the line, turns out he was a 21 year old French lad (young enough to be my son) but we motivated each other to push as hard as we could.

If all that wasn’t hard enough we had a 500km transfer to deal with, so bed at well gone 2.30am this morning (Sunday)

It’s a rest day so washing and resting is the order of the day and catching up with the Tour.

Then we go again for the next phase.

📷 – Dave Hayward

If you would like to support us by donating then here’s my page-

Thanks from all at Cureleukeamia

~ by theboxterboy on July 9, 2017.

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