PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Paris 2012: Unsurprisingly, having the eyes of the world monitoring the progress of the planet's most famous cyclist as he bids to win the world's most famous race has been a boost to the French Olympic bid. Paris 2012 pin badges, T-shirts and slogans adorned the route du Tour today, and were beamed around the world via TV only hours before the IOC announce their decision.
Buffet de Presse: Yes, it's only taken us four stages to praise the virtues of the press buffet, which today in Blois surpassed all expectations, as the local treated us to the usual array of meats and cheese, but also even had an ice-cream stall. Their generosity was warmly appreciated by the likes of Jeff Bernard (who now might struggle to match his time on the Ventoux in 1987...) and one English national newspaper writer who was seen to be nodding off after spending too much time sampling the vin rouge....
Joseba Beloki: He's back - well perhaps not with a bang but Beloki and co-team leader at Liberty Seguros, Roberto Heras, could take some comfort from their team's performance in today's very rapid team TT. Both riders have now a more respectable position on the Tour's current GC, but let's not get too excited - they're both still more than two minutes behind Big Tex.
Rabobank - a solid but unspectacular ride in the team time trial only served to further emphasise the criticisms that have been levelled at the Dutch team of anonymity and under-achievement. So bad have relations become between the team and the media that some Dutch journalists are said to be close to blackballing their home team...