Sunday, 3 July 2011

Stage 2 - TTT Les Essarts

With the re-introduction of the Team Time Trial this year, Christian Prudhomme shortened the course in an effort not to create a significant advantage to the teams who specialise in time trial. For once in his racing career Cadel Evans is with a strong team who can also time trial. BMC did a great job to cement Evans's position just 1 second behind Hushovd & Millar, this takes the pressure off BMC to have to defend the Yellow jersey so early in the race. The biggest gain for Evans of course, was the extra 20 seconds that he was able to gain over Contadore. He now has 1 min 41 sec lead aver Contadore.

Although the race is still in the early stages, it means that Saxo Bank will need to be working very hard during the mountain stages to pull back the advantage that Evans now has. The other main competition for Evans, Andy Schleck and Bradley Wiggins, are only 2 seconds adrift, so the stage is set for some exciting racing in the coming weeks.

We started our day with a 96 km steady ride from Nantes down to Les Essarts for the race start and we spent a few hours wandering around the huge carnival that is part of the Tour. I was able to get some good shots of the start and other POI at Les Essarts before we headed back to the bus to ensure we were back in the hotel to watch the last couple of teams finish. 

The weather has been holding up well and the forecast for tomorrow is positive, with no rain and only light winds ( that's good for the sprinter's teams for an easier lead up to what is likely to be a bunch sprint at the finish at Redon....its also great news for us as we ride the 75 km from Nantes to Pornic, on the coast, to intersect the race at the intermediate sprint at Saint Hilaire de Chaleons.

After a suggestion from my mate Graze, I've added a French weather link on the right side of the blog page.  Oh, and Graze, I taken a photo of one of my meals for you ....not going to do the Gebriel Gate as you suggested...mainly because I don't have your foodie knowledge or skills....lets just say that the tucker is pretty bloody good over here....and not too expensive....and the the vin rouge is up to the task as well!!

My photos tonight will start with the cycling action at Les Essarts and then I've added a few shots around Nantes...and that plate of food for Graze!

Rabobank at the start line.

Saur Sojasun get away.

The old chateau Les Essarts

Loading the bikes into our Bikestyle Tours bus trailer, holds 35 bikes.

Un Chateau Fort built in the 15th century as a key element of the defences of Nantes, as protection against the invading French King, who wanted to annex Brittanny.

A couple of great little restaurants opposite the Chateau Fort.

Graze...this is the Salade Nicoise that I kicked off dinner with tonight!!

And a bit of Bling for the boys Glow Coffee, Europcars new Colnagos...real sharp!!

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