Peter Sagan, again!
There’s little left to say about the man but as soon as we walked the last couple of kilometres we knew it was one for him – a sharp cobbled climb up from the river, across a cobbled bridge, past the bear pit then another nippy climb before the 1,000 metre, straight as a dye, pan flat finish straight.
We thought just maybe Cav could hang on but in the event they were going mad on to the climb up from the river and it was too much for the ‘pure’ fast men but ideal for those who come to the fore when it’s tough – Kristoff was well there and good to see Degenkolb riding back into form.
Bern was nice, the weather was beautiful but Switzerland isn’t really a welcoming place, a tad cool/off hand and there’s no bones about getting as much money out of you as is possible – 40 Euros when you cross the border ‘for driving on their roads,’ a beer is seven Euros and the digs, whilst OK, are costing double what they would just over the border in France.
At the Press Centre, where we uplifted our precious credentials, ASO were advertising their Japanese criterium – be nice to go see that but it’s not gonna happen!
Out on the finish straight the Vittel girl was cooling us down – very necessary on a day where the temperatures were in the 30’s.
Meanwhile, ‘somewhere in Central Switzerland’ Tony Martin and Julian Alaphilippe were ‘getting the miles in.’
If they were setting it up for Dan Martin then that didn’t go well.
We’d expected more FabLove on the course but apart from this big banner on the climb there was little to be seen – the Big Chap took sixth on the day, not a bad effort but a long ways from his heyday domination of finishes like this.
Mr. Tinkov was out for his usual ride – the man is keen, that’s for sure.
I must have a million Tour caravan pics, every year I tell myself ‘don’t waste time shooting those daft vehicles’ but…
The pace into the foot of the first wee cobbled climb was infernal with only the very strongest able to move up – even hard men like Stannard were showing the strain.
Rui Costa was the man who countered when the two Etixx’s came back and zoomed off in search of the stage win – but by the time he reached us he was wasted.
We’d expected a big bunch but it was far from it, there were little groups all over the place, just ‘riding in’ to put an end to this long, hot day.
You have to admire riders like Tosatto, they slave all day for their Capo then get left to their fate to get home as best they can.
Gent’s favourite son was a long ways from the hallowed boards of the Kuipke, this day – on chaperone duty for Big Marcel, who’s just not a boy for this kind of finish.
It was a late one on Monday night after Stage 16; we didn’t get the job done ‘till after 11:00 pm.
Due to the nature of the day I didn’t get much written on the trusty BlackBerry during the stage, which is what I usually do to ‘break the back’ of the word count – I felt that at night.
Another more embarrassing reason we were late was that I’d forgotten about the half baked Suisse plug sockets, they’re different from the whole of the rest of Europe – we had to dash round local supermarkets to get adapters!
We also had a run in with Bill Gates… the world’s richest man recently imposed Windows 10 upon me.
I didn’t request it because friends who know about these things told me it’s not a good system – and whilst the change makes little difference to working in Word documents it’s totally altered things if you’re working with pictures; and MUCH for the worst – it took us ages to get our head round it.
We’re going to write ourselves a ‘mini-tutorial’ this morning whilst we’re fresh so we don’t have to break down and cry again, tonight.
And that was Stage 16. Rest Day, today – and we’re off in search of interviews, wish us luck…