Today’s stage: Dunkirk-Calais (172 kilometers)
Christian Prudhomme has the sense of the formula to sell his career. “If you are moving at sea level at the start and finish, the amount of elevation to take can give sprinters heartburn”, summarizes the boss of the Tour about this 4e stage, the first in France.
Between the mountains of Flanders and Boulonnais, the peloton will take well-known routes from the Four Days of Dunkirk (which last six by the way). With a final exposed to the wind, the daring riders have an interesting playing field to shake up the peloton and “avoid” a massive third arrival.
Author of an excellent time trial during the first stage on Friday (5e), Mathieu van der Poel has been uncharacteristically discreet – for him – ever since. The Dutchman had, however, put forward the idea “to try something before the cobblestone stage”, Wednesday. As he could not go on the attack from his hotel room on Monday (transition day requires), the blaster from Alpecin-Deceuninck will have to mess up the mountains of Boulonnais, cut for his qualities as a cyclo- crossman.
And if the day he turns forty, Philip Gilbert won a second stage on the Tour, eleven years after its success at Mont des Alouettes? With age, the Belgian has lost a bit of punch and burst of speed, but his race science is still there. And the leg breaking course can allow him to take advantage of a running movement to trap the favorites. In his Lotto-Soudal team, the champagne is already chilled.
“These transfers don’t affect the riders too much. It is especially for our staff that it is difficult. »
The 650 kilometer transfer between Denmark and France as well as a plane breakdown at Sonderborg airport did not affect the morale of the peloton. On the contrary, according to Benoît Cosnefroy. The AG2R-Citroën rider went on a short bike ride in the north of France on Monday and took full advantage of this unofficial day of rest which will allow him to approach the mountain stages of the weekend less tired. The staffs of the teams, more bothered by the organizational puzzle of this transfer, will perhaps be a little more in the hard.
Detour of the Tour
The Tour de France among the Ch’tis. Fifteen years after seeing Dany Boon and Kad Merad cross it by bike in Welcome to the Ch’tisthe city of Bergues (North) will welcome professional runners, ten kilometers after the start from Dunkirk. The northern city, which continues to enjoy tourism boosted by the film with 20 million admissions, will see the first breakaway companions pass in front of the now famous belfry of Bergues before tackling the Audomarois. Listen carefully, a chime could split the sky like the runners the Bergen bitumen.
In the retro
In the Van der Poel family, we ask for the father. On the 1987 Tour, Adrie van der Poel is not yet the son-in-law of Raymond Poulidor. But a few months before meeting, during his holidays in Martinique, Corinne, the daughter of “Poupou”, the Dutchman distinguished himself during the very long 9e stage (260 km between Orléans, in Loiret, and Renazé, in Mayenne). Van der Poel escapes in the last twenty kilometers with four other fugitives.
This cyclo-cross specialist is presumed to be the fastest in the group, but he almost lets himself be surprised by the Italian Roberto Amadio in the sprint. The Dutch champion manages to pass along the railings and offers himself his first stage victory in five participations.
Mathieu was earlier. Last year, the prodigal son raised his arms from the 2e stage for his discovery of the Tour. A habit. When Dad became world cyclo-cross champion at 36 years old, the son imitated him at just 20 years old.
The broom wagon
Benoît Cosnefroy said it: transfers are above all ” Difficult situation “ for team staff. And for the followers! In the early hours of Monday (at 2 a.m. to be precise), Lille airport was invaded by a troop of journalists, eyes red with fatigue and obsessed with the desire to earn their hotels to grab a few hours of sleep before hitting the road again. For the special envoys of Worldthe last day on Danish soil took on the appearance of an endless day due to a small itinerary error which placed us on the course of the race.
An incredible experience, of the strongest when you know the fervor of the local public for cycling. Still, slaloming between children drawing with chalk on the asphalt, cyclists doing the stopover, and groups taking pictures of themselves, is not really recommended when you have time constraints (deposit of suitcases, return of the rental car…). So, we join Florian Sénéchal: “Denmark is a beautiful country” but we are not unhappy to be, finally, back in France.
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