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Stage 1: Stress in Paradise

29/06/2013
The tour is here and they really couldn’t have chosen a better place for it. Corsica is the perfect setting in which to celebrate 100 years of the best race in the world, even if at first glance it looks as though it could be set in a science fiction film. One of the teams’ coaches has blocked the finish line and the organization has been close to changing it with only ten kilometers to go. Never have I experienced such a situation in my life and the tension and lack of information means that there is a sense of pure nerves coming from the assembled cars. The only similar event that I can think of was back in 85 when an MDP bus hit the slope of one of the harbors and had to be pulled out by tractors. I also remember one time during the first few years of the test in Marseille, where one of the final stages of the race had to be moved due to a police involved protest. The finish line was moved to the city’s entrance where the winner celebrated the victory alone because there was nobody there waiting for him.
Stage 1: Stress in Paradise

Historia BH

Unfortunately some things never change and the crashes and falls still play an important part of the race to this day. To win the race you not only have to be the best, you also need to be in with luck. You can prepare as best you can but fundamentally there are certain parameters that just cannot be controlled. Just three kilometers to go and there was a pileup of riders including a host of favourites such as  Contador, Hesjedal, Rui Costa, Cavendish, Sagan and Tony Martin, the worst of them all. Every racer wants to be at the front of the pack and this is what causes such dangerous encounters despite the fact that the ground was very favourable with good roads allowing for the smooth ride of the “multicoloured snake”. Tomorrow and the day after will be more complicated because the tarmac will be narrower which gives rise to a higher chance of dangerous encounters. What more, even though there weren’t so many members of the public here today, there were still perhaps more than expected. We are on an island of 300.000 habitants and the fans here just don’t compare to those in Nice, Marseille, the Alps or the Pyrenees. Apart from this all, I definitely think it is a wise move to have brought the test to this wonderful place for the very first time.

Etapa1

 

 

 

It has been a great debut for our team and we have been protagonists since the very beginning. Yesterday I was telling you that the Sojasun would always be present in the race and today we prove this. Cyril Lemoine along with four other cyclists has been making a break for it for more than 170 kilometres. I was with him when he was with the sports therapist and he was smiling from ear to ear. A Frenchman always dreams of starring in the tour and earlier on today Lemoine was like a child on Christmas day. We put forward Simon and Hivert for the sprint, the better of the two finishing first in 13th. This is where the best are found and it is very complicated to win but they definitely gave it a shot. Unfortunately we too have seen various falls, in particular Feillu and El Fares but as some might say nothing serious, just a bit of “bodywork and paint”. There is a strong atmosphere among the team with Jean Marc Marino attracting a lot of my attention. He is young but skillful and could well be one to watch out for. He is a Frenchman but lives in Sitges with his partner and comes across more Spanish than French. 

Etapa1 -BH

To finish, I leave you looking back at the past. I want to tell you things that many young people don’t know. Today I am going to teach you about the bicycle ridden by the very first winner of the Tour: Maurice Garin in 1903. One needs to conduct a very particular analysis to get a good idea about the bicycles permanent evolution since that of Bradley Wiggins. Weight, geometrics, material, wheels, nuts, saddles, and a whole range of different innovations give value to both the bikes’ creators and its champions, who together make up the protagonists and magnificent providers for the manufacturers and pioneering brands of bikes and accessories. The product itself has never stopped improving regarding its comfort, its efficiency and in the XXI century, its performance.

Maurice Garin’s La Française bicycle weighs 13 kg and its average of 25.6 km shows the courage and performance of this mustached athlete. It has a forward leaning steel frame and a very steep high bottom bracket with hairpin. There is a 42 tooth plate and a single fixed 18 inch wheel on the back that also works as a break. There are no foot straps and the handlebars are not in the least bit aerodynamic what with its width and lack of depth. A leather bag is attached to the handlebar which serves as a bottle holder. The rims are made of wood.

That is all friends. Sending my best wishes from Corsica!

 

 

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