Le Tour: Ben Swift-Stage 16 was a very a fast stage …

Ben Swift writes … Stage 16 was a very a fast stage 162km in a little more than 3:30hours. From the gun it was attack galore and it took a full 100km for the right break to actually form.

On a stage like that you also need a good amount of luck on your side to make the move. I felt I had quite good legs and that I came out of the rest day really well which I was really pleased with. The team rode brilliantly again today and that move wasn’t good without us in it.

Once that break was formed it was clear it was going to the finish as the whole peloton stopped for a call of nature and the gap rapidly grew to 6minutes. With 48km left to go we knew we were never seeing them again. So when we hit that final climb I sat up, stuck it in the 27 and saved the legs for stage 17. At this point in the race there is not much point in fighting to stay with the group when you can take it easy an get ready for the next stage.

Stage 17 is going to be pretty much the same as in all out attacks. The good thing about today though is that the break with be decided a little more on physical than luck, as the profile is a fair bit harder than yesterday. There is also a nice little sting in the tail of this stage. With a steep climb and a very technical descent you should expect to see fireworks up this final climb from both the break and the GC contenders. I will be again trying to make that break and see what we can do in that finish.


Previous entry …

Ben Swift writes … So, I have had the chance to put my feet up on the second rest day of this year’s Tour de France. It has been a hard week since the last rest day with some fast and furious racing and a few mountain passes to climb. The legs were quite jelly like at the start of the week as I struggled to follow the acceleration on that first day.

I was disappointed as normally that sort of finish would be right up my alley. But I bounced back and felt much much better the following day. It was a wet day and we really tried to set Edvald up for the finish. We then headed into the mountains. I had been looking forward to getting to the mountains for a reason unknown to myself but I was!

The first mountain stage was tough and I could feel I hadn’t done that much climbing for a while, but it was great to get that first day under the belt and it really helped me find the climbing legs. The second day in the mountains was flat out from the start and I could definitely feel the day before in my legs. The first hour and half was full on as the break took a while stick. Once it calmed down and the break had gone, I started to come around and felt a lot better on the main climb.

The next day was to be the hardest of this block in the mountains and potentially the hardest of the Tour. Six mountain passes to climb in 173km is a tough day and that’s what it proved to be. I felt the best I have for a while which was quite useful. I got through most of the passes with the front group and then backed off before I went too deep into the red. The crowds through out the mountains were amazing! There are famous images from the Tour where the peloton is lined out single file going through crowds of screaming fans and that just what it was like, and that definitely helps when the gradient kicks in.

The last stage before the rest day was a fast and furious stage with a strong tail wind. It was my first chance to sprint in the Tour and I was happy with how things went but five people beat me and there is room for improvement, and I will try again. Now we are heading into the final week and its going to be a very hard final week but one I will love. I am looking forward to Paris now and it is nearly in sight!


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