Through the 2022 Tour de France the Trek Segafredo rider Toms Skujiņš has been writing an unique weblog for VeloNews.com. The Latvian time trial champion is participating in his fifth Tour and has been sharing his perception because the race travels from Denmark on July 1 in the direction of Paris this Sunday.
Relaxation is vital to successful the Tour de France.
That’s what they at all times say, proper? “Don’t stand when you’ll be able to sit, don’t sit when you’ll be able to lay down.” Or, “in the event you get even simply 30min additional sleep every night time, that’s greater than a full night time’s sleep over three weeks.”
I let you know, boy did I want this relaxation day. Denmark looks like it was such a very long time in the past. Truly it actually was simply two weeks in the past, however that’s sufficient time for a lot of ups and downs, each actually and figuratively.
We had some sprints, we had some cobbles, we had mountains. And simply when everybody was pondering the GC was near completed, individuals acquired reminded that we weren’t even into the ultimate week. That’s to not point out the drama on stage 15 when, simply earlier than the remaining day, the chief’s crew misplaced two key help guys.
Roglič left the race to recuperate from his accidents and simply hours later, Kruijswijk crashed and couldn’t end the stage. However Pogačar’s crew has additionally proven some weak point and had already misplaced already a number of of its riders. It looks like the times of Crew Sky dominance and a seemingly-invincible yellow jersey prepare trip by means of the mountains to Paris are lengthy gone. I’ve the sensation we’re in for fairly the third week of racing.
I’ve jumped method forward right here, however solely as a result of I lastly really feel like I’ve gotten again a few of my vitality. If you happen to learn my first two items I used to be fairly pumped and completely satisfied on how issues are going and was wanting ahead to the racing. And, if I let you know the reality, it was all going very properly within the first half. The crew was driving properly, I used to be at all times there to assist out each time I might and was simply biding my time for some phases that will go well with my capabilities.
Our day on the cobbles went properly sufficient and though we didn’t win, we acquired shut. On the primary mountaintop of the race I simply saved my tempo to the summit and by the tip of stage 8 I someway discovered myself nonetheless sitting within the high 20 GC. It’s not like that it was one thing I used to be aiming for, however it simply confirmed how good the shape was and the way properly I used to be driving.
Then, identical to that, I had a fever in a single day. I’d no urge for food within the morning and no functionality to eat something on the bike throughout stage 9. I survived that day on a number of cans of coke and water. That’s not the trip gas you’d need for nearly a 200km day within the mountains. I used to be completely satisfied to make it to the end line contained in the time reduce.
After the stage and the next morning I might barely swallow something with out feeling like my abdomen was about to explode. This was, in fact, not perfect heading into the Alps; to say I used to be fearful can be an understatement.
Stage 10 was one other day the place I used to be saved by a number of cans of coke. Initially line of stage 11 all my optimism had run out. I wasn’t getting any higher. It was one other massive day within the mountains, and it felt like this was a problem I couldn’t full.
Issues began in a tough method. Whereas the combat was happening for the break I might nearly maintain the wheel of the peloton within the flats. Luck was on my facet that the break went earlier than the primary climb, as a result of I needed to give it the whole lot simply to outlive the “simple” tempo of the peloton.
We had three climbs left, throughout 10km lengthy. I actually thought that this was the day I used to be going house. On the backside of the primary of these three massive climbs I didn’t even attempt to comply with the peloton, however took my very own tempo as that was all I might do. Fortunately a number of kilometers later I CAUGHT up with a gaggle of dropped riders. That gave me hope. Properly, for the following half hour, as a result of closing into the highest of Col du Galibier my vitality ranges have been so low I used to be really fearful in regards to the downhill too. I couldn’t even drink a coke anymore: it was a darkish, darkish place to be.
By a miracle I managed to get to the highest, was really capable of eat a gel after which out of the blue discovered sufficient vitality on the ultimate climb to catch as much as the group in entrance and end safely contained in the time restrict.
Then on to the 14th of July. Bastille day in France. It’s the massive one. There may be at all times a giant battle for the break and I knew it was going to be this yr, particularly because the end was on high of the well-known Alpe d’Huez. The earlier night one other miracle had occurred. I had eaten an precise dinner cooked by our chef Mirko and, due to the headwind on the primary climb of the day, I really managed to cross the climb with the primary peloton. The morale was excessive.
Not for too lengthy, although, as on the following climb I in fact acquired dropped and rode the entire Alpe solo all the best way to the highest. Nevertheless this time I might search for from my handlebars. That was partly as a result of I used to be really capable of eat one thing on the bike, and partly as a result of the environment on the Alpe is so unimaginable.
Drained however completely satisfied, I survived the times within the Alps and I ate dinner. Once more. An precise dinner. I knew the following day as a crew we had an excellent shot at a stage consequence and was decided to assist as a lot as I might. I knew the dinner would get me by means of the primary hour, so I might give my all to cowl each transfer that we weren’t in.
Fortunately for me, Mads was on a mission. There weren’t many strikes he was not a part of and as soon as a gaggle of seven together with him and Quinn was off the entrance, I knew there was little likelihood we’d see these boys earlier than the end line. As a mad, mad Mads on a mission, the legend pulled it off!
It’s been such an excellent Tour for Denmark, and he added one other stage win to it. Simply unimaginable. I used to be over the moon. Even when I didn’t win, the struggling I had gone by means of was price it to be there on the bus when he acquired again from the rostrum.
Issues have been on an up after that. The legs have been coming again, the abdomen was digesting a lot of the meals and we have been on a excessive. So on stage 15 we determined to go for it once more. Cowl strikes, ensure that it was break we might management and put the strain on the sprinters on the ultimate climb earlier than railing the downhill and placing Mads right into a place to win the dash from a diminished peloton. Positive, he didn’t fairly get the win, however one other third place dash continues to be strong.
I’m pleased with the best way we took the race on and confirmed our power. In fact, we additionally simply wished to get to the end sooner, so we are able to get to the remaining day. Particularly me, as my daughter and spouse have been there and it had been 4 weeks since I had seen them.
Let’s now hope the batteries have been recharged because the Pyrenees await. I’m positive the battle will likely be thrilling and my solely tip to spectators be looking out for Ineos going all in. If Jumbo Visma and UAE are down to 6 riders, then Ineos have all eight playing cards to play and three of these nonetheless within the high 10 on GC.