Onto the second phase of the tour now with still 11 stages to race. It's been a fantastic start for us, and I'm so happy to have won the hill top finish on stage 7, but after the time trial I couldn't help feeling "robbed" out of the time I lost due to the puncture on day one. It just goes to show how unpredictable bike racing can be and even if you do all the work leading up to an event, you're still far from guaranteed a result. I was fortunate enough to only puncture where other riders are still lying in hospital beds with broken bones. Today our Belarusian team mate, Costa, who crashed out with a broken leg will finally be leaving the hospital in Paris to go home to be with his family.
It's been a rollercoaster of a tour so far. That stage win for me is almost indescribable. I had a good end to the season last year but many people have been questioning if it is something I would be able to repeat. Especially after a slow start to the season this year. I eventually started questioning that myself... winning on top of La Planche des Belles Filles was a huge reassurance to me that I am capable of duplicating, and possibly even bettering, the form I had last year. Then backing it up again a few days later with a reasonable time trial.
I was woken up early this morning for blood controls, so I might need an extra coffee before the start this morning. Morale in the team is high after the rest day yesterday but we're expecting an extremely tough week ahead of us to protect the position we're in. I thank you all for the overwhelming support so far, it goes a long way when the chips are down!