Quiet French roads but noisy craches on the Cycle Slam...

When rugby boys hit the ground, they do it hard...

Saturday 20th February. Lapalisse - Nevers. 112km. Done: 1085 km. To go: 1803km. Weather: OK. Light wind, snow flurries, damp.

Some tired legs after fighting the mistral yesterday, but lovely French back roads today, with quiet Saturday traffic.In 8 days of riding we have averaged about 135km. Over the next 20 it's 90km, which sounds good. But 133km tomorrow, our longest day left, into Chablis.

Nasty crash today. Our group tucked in behind Bonzo's, mostly comprised former Cambridge varsity players. Opponents, and members of the opposite sex, can attest to Adam Bidwell being a big boy. And on the coach this morning Joanna (my wife) had been 'treated' to him applying Sudo-cream to that well known cycling trouble spot. Anyway, he touched a wheel and went down hard on his shoulder, but insisted on going on.

Joanna had hard day, dehydrated, and glad to get to hotel at 4 for a rest. David Millar just sent us an email. Makes our problems sound trivial.  "Food poisoning the day before it kicked off, savage terrain and weather for three days. 215km hilly in non-stop cold rain Thursday. The lights went out after about 140km and I grovelled the remainder in." Sounds like they have made the Tour of Algarve really hard this year. But Dave is doing a brilliant job of supportin the Cycle Slam even while racing: "I got some brilliant clips this morning. Thor Hushovd, Andreas Kloden, Robbie Mcewen, Heinrich Haussler, Sylvain Chavanel, Andre Griepel, Samuel Sanchez AND Alberto Contador. All holding the jersey and wishing good luck."

And WE have former France rugby captain Rafa Ibanez tomorrow... and Lee Dixon coming back for more. He's hooked. On we go.

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