This morning I had a nervous wait for yesterday’s Covid test results.
I was expecting some sort of WhatsApp message or text after breakfast but never heard anything so when my room door knocked at 10:15 am I was expecting the worst.
Everyone’s fear right now is of catching Covid and being kicked out of the race and we heard rumors this morning that four staff from other teams, and even the race director himself , had tested positive.
At first I was asked about the Covid testing and the stage itself and I wasn’t too complimentary about today’s route choice.
Although there weren’t any big climbs today, we knew that much of the terrain in the second half of the stage would be narrow roads exposed to the wind, so everyone was quite wary of the crosswinds and collisions as we drove out of town this morning.
For some reason, the early hours of this morning were very quick.
There were only two guys on the road, with no hope of staying clear, but a nervous squad kept them on a leash barely within a minute.
With the acceleration, lots of roundabouts, narrow roads and the blowing wind, there were a lot of crashes but I managed to get around most of them with no problem.
Until I didn’t.
About 99 miles from the end, on a small winding homeless road, two runners from Trek and EF touched down to my right.
We were going close to 60 km / h back then and I was just a driver behind them in the tight-knit peloton, so there was nowhere to go except down.
There’s not much you can do at this speed except pull the brakes and hope for the best. When I bumped into the guys in front of me and landed on the ground my brakes were replaced with my shoulder squealing along the tarmac which, as a stopping mechanism, is nowhere near as effective and twenty times more painful.
As more and more runners fell on top of me and all around me, all I could do was lay down.
My legs were tangled in my bike and I couldn’t move them.
My shoulder and right leg were numb after skidding on the hot tarmac and it took a few seconds for the medics to lift me up.
When I straightened up I felt a bit dizzy and scanning the areas where the pain was coming from I quickly realized it was due to the amount of blood spurting out my right forearm.
It had probably been sliced off by a rear cassette, but it looked like a tiger that had maimed me when I bent my elbow. I’ve never had a blood-spurting wound like this before.
The doctor held me up, lit my eyes, asked me questions.
” How old are you? Where are you from? ”
“No, no, I don’t have a concussion,” I insisted. “I didn’t hit my head. It’s just because of my arm, the bleeding. I showed my arm covered in blood.
“You have to get in the ambulance,” she said. ” It’s finish. ”
“Fuck no, it’s not over! ” I answered. “I’ll finish the race and we’ll see tonight. ”
It took me a while to convince everyone to let me continue but I wasn’t going to give up the Tour by the side of the road.
“If I can’t ride, I’ll stop,” I said, “but I have to get back on the bike.
The doctor sprayed some kind of sealant spray on my arm and wrapped a bandage around it before I got back on my bike and started my chase.
I had been in the field for three or four minutes by then and the group had split into rungs somewhere up the road.
After a few miles with the doctor on the go, I started my chase in earnest and finally got to the back of the team car rush, as my team car m urged me to continue eating and drinking to maintain my blood sugar.
When the peloton turned into a headwind, I then gradually wound up the cars one by one until, about 15 km later, I was back in the fold, or rather, hooked to the fold, grimacing.
I was hoping the peloton would break up again and I could sit and ride to the line in a small group, but there were a lot more crash victims to go in the last 50 miles before that happened. occur.
On arrival, our team doctor ran alongside me as I walked to the arrival mobile unit to have my wrist and ligaments x-rayed before the race doctor sewed two stitches on my wrist and seven on my forearm.
I then drove the team car back to the hotel where our team doctor finished the job, dressing up the rest of my cuts and bruises and putting ice inside my knee, which I probably hit my handlebars in the accident.
Afterwards, I realized that Sam Bennett had won his first stage victory in the Tour de France today.
Sam is a good friend of mine and I’m so proud of what he did today. He has now won stages in all three Grand Tours, which is quite an achievement.
I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to congratulate him now.