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Cent Cols Challenge: Stage 10 (Fin)
Montmelian to Annecy
Ave speed - 14.2mph (including the Lake Annecy champagne-addled cycle-path)
A cold start to the day, but we could tell it was going to be another perfect afternoon. The temperature soared in the morning and I think we were all glad to be finished by mid-afternoon. A sun-dappled descent into Annecy through an idyllic national forest.
Back into the stunning 'Swiss-style' Alps, lush alpine meadows, contented cows and the soothing melody of the cow bells.
The route took us through a series of difficult and demanding climbs, before the 17km Cret de Chatillon rewarded us with a stunning mountain-top finish.
We were stopped just before embarking on a serious climb in the late morning to be told the road to the Col was closed and we'd have to retrace our steps to the point of Phil's shorter route. With time in hand we were soon basking in the sun, enjoying great coffee and even better flan from a patisserie straight out of Amelie… bliss.
Lunch at the top of the Cret de Chatillon next to panoramic views in alpine sunshine, with Mont Blanc in the distance.
Finding out I came 3rd… remarkable, and only thanks to the team's hard work.
Waking up in the morning, I was looking forward to a catching up on some sleep (Ira's always deep under as I tap away at my ride journal). However, it became clear at the evening briefing this was to be a morning like the rest: Waking in darkness, straight into damp lycra, and a far from leisurely breakfast…
Despite the beautiful route, I found today a real grind. Legs were blown out by stages 8 and 9 and I had nothing left. I hung on to Ira's wheel on the climbs, sometimes tapping along at 11+mph for a considerable distance on a gradient, but I couldn't match his relentless drive.
What of tomorrow? Well, who knows, a return to normality?
Lake Annecy, rather inviting after 10 days of riding.
Raeburn, Ira Ryan, Arthur, Amlot and honorary Rapha rider, Hedges.
- RT @IonaNiDhalaigh: Yahhh mountain jersey in the bag!!! Nice one @mike_cuming!!! @raphacondor http://t.co/GrGqSL0Kgl
- RT @CondorWarehouse: Nice to see the @raphacondor JLT team bike on display @campagnolosrl HQ with so many top pro teams http://t.co/5CgE0tY…
- RT @anpostras: GC after Stage 4: Bialoblocki,, McConvey, Guldhammer, Handley, Pelletier-Roy, Hunal, Simon Yates, Fodor, Roger Aiken, Archbo…
- Spare a thought for @Porterelliott who punctured out of the yellow jersey group, when will he get some luck!
- Took the @anpostras on today. Didn't quite pull it off. @RichHandley90 4th on GC and @mike_cuming in the KoM jersey.
- Tour series update from Stoke up on the site http://t.co/aVdcnGnkOX
- RT @elstopbanana: Here's Kristian House @raphacondor at last night's @TourSeries picture by Sue Howlett Great racing! @SoTCityCouncil http:…
- RT @sticky_bottle: Meant to say, to be eligible for the @raphacondor team car compeition you have to be a stickybottle twitter follower!
- RT @sticky_bottle: OK folks; nice morning for it. To win a day in the Rapha Condor JLT team car on the Rás last stage, Sunday, just retweet…
- Third team overall for the Men in Black at Stoke last night in the @TourSeries