We had planned to spend the week end in Manosque and ride two of the sportifs in La Sisteronne but, sadly, the organisers (Stephen Roche and Lucien Aimar) didn’t receive prefectural permission, no idea why, so we cancelled the trip. At least they found this out 2 weeks before the event, we only received a copy of the prefectural permission for La Kivilev on the Friday before the big day, nonetheless costs will have been incurred and it makes it much more likely that they’ll abandon attempts to hold future events. Instead we rode a randonnee in the l’Esterel, just up the road in the Var.
This is a lovely area to ride. A far less dense population means very much less traffic. The very rolling parcours and attractive terrain make it an interesting and picturesque ride. We elected (thankfully) to ride the shortest course which was nonetheless taxing as we were either ascending or descending. There was hardly any flat at all on the parcours. Sadly, and despite it being a well run event, it only attracted about 70 entrants. I only knew about it because I received an email directly from the president. Probably because the club is a member of FFCT (one of the few federation of which we’re not members), it’s not on our radar. We also tend to be highly insular and promote only those events in the Alpes Maritimes. I’ve made a mental note to look out for more events like this. I also gained another cup for my ever expanding collection. I’m not sure what it was for and didn’t like to ask as it might have been for “La Doyenne”, oldest female participant. More likely, as there were so few of us, they gave a cup to every female entrant (all 3 of us) to encourage us.
Yesterday’s exertions meant I fell asleep on the sofa only rousing in time to see Peter Sagan bag another stage win in the Tour de Suisse, this time a sprint. That boy is a phenomenal talent and I’m going to be looking forward to see how he fares in this year’s Vuelta. Today’s stage is an individual time trial which, barring a major accident or major mechanical, will be won by Fabulous Fabian. Cunego’s not renowned for his time-trialling prowess but the leader’s jersey, rather than Red Bull, often gives you wings. If not, Levi Leipheimer is handily poised to pounce and wrest it from him.
This morning’s pointage was close by in Sophia Antipolis. I rode with the club and discovered how the boys often manage to put 10 minutes into my time – they cheat. Yes, the entire peloton took a short cut and eliminated over 5km of undulating road. I was reported as having “gone the wrong way”. No boys, I write the route remember: you’ve taken a short cut. It left me wondering how often this happens. I follow the prescribed route, one minute they’re in sight, the next they’ve gone. Gone down a short cut more like! This left me free to follow the route at my own pace before rendezvousing with my beloved for a coffee over the Sunday newspapers.
Postscript: Spartacus won the time-trial and Levi leapfrogged Damiano by 4 seconds!