Aurillac to Carmaux – 158 km
Todays stage is not exactly a flat stage with 2 x 4th cat climbs and 2 x 3rd cat climb. The sprint points come early in the stage before the climbs so we should see the normal display by the likes of the HTC train and most likely the Omega gang for Gilbert with Greipel leading him out. This stage again has a lot in common with a classics race. The course is undulation for the entire stage and even at the end the 4th cat climb could split the bunch as it is quite steep but not so long. The day will most likely end with of 40 – 50 riders contesting the sprint.
With today being the first day after the rest day it will be interesting to see who has fared out well in recovery. Some riders on the rest day would have covered 2 – 3 hrs on the road easy while others just stayed in bed only getting out for food and a massage. Unluckily for those who have broken skin that it is one of the hardest things to do is to try and rest lying down injured. I remember using sanitary towels and gaffatape on a very bad hip wound I had a number of years ago in order to try to get some sleep. Some people laughed at the story but I have since see them using them. Sleep is so important that riders will give up all self-image issues just to get some zzzzz’s.
Again on the food issue I have shown in an earlier post the amount of energie expenditure and also calorie consumption required by a rider to survive this type of sport. Juan Antonio Flecha’s spread sheet shows that he has so far in the first nine days expended 31582 kj, covered 1589 km, generated a Training Stress Score of 1974 and have an average normalised power of 311.66 watts. Considering that most riders using a power meter are guided not to have a weekly TSS of above 800 generally and with Flecha to be more than twice that value it just shows the level of stress the riders are under.