Perry’s Tour de France diary: Stage 16 – Nîmes to Nîmes

We arrived back in France late yesterday afternoon/early evening after spending a few days in the studio back home. 

It was just boiling when we got in and it has been like that ever since – it’s felt like an absolute sweatbox! 

Once you get out of the city it just got hotter and hotter so the worse thing you could do today was ride your bike. 

I have a mate who is following the Tour around and he went out for a ride of 110km yesterday and he got through 13 bottles and four cans of Coke! 

Nîmes has been beautiful – there’s lots of old Roman architecture and we’ve been staying in the old city which has been lovely. 

Race director Christian Prudhomme’s car outside the spectacular Roman amphitheatre

Three years ago they started the Vuelta from the Roman amphitheatre and it looked stunning. 

There are loads of old narrow streets and beautiful little restaurants. 

We found this great Spanish restaurant and sampled some of the local steak.  

The win for Caleb Ewan was amazing. 

It was a bit of a slower day because the last thing you want to do on a day like this is race your bike. 

The peloton was going pretty slowly – at one point they were 15 minutes slower than the slowest scheduled time. 

There were also a lot of mistakes today. Geraint Thomas came off his bike and we don’t really know what happened to Jakob Fuglsang but when it’s that hot it only takes one lapse in concentration and, in his case, he’s out of the race. 

I saw something from Eurosport’s Orla Chennaoui on Twitter that said in the last five years the winner of the Dauphinè has gone on to win the Tour de France apart from Jakob Fuglsang- it’s happened twice so it’s pretty shit but I do feel sorry for him. 

He was down in ninth so he was probably going for stage wins. 

Two years ago when he crashed out he broke his arm in two places so it’s not a lucky race for him! 

There’s always plenty of swag to be had at the finish line

It’s been Fuglsang’s best year but I think to win the Tour you need the best team around you and it’s been a funny one for Astana because they’ve had a fantastic season up to this point. 

I’ve been on co-presenting duties so I’ve not been having to sit in the heat of the commentary box. 

There wasn’t much breeze by the finish line but I was talking to Gareth (Rhys Owen) from the BBC and he was saying that in the commentary booth, with the air conditioning on, it was 35 degrees! 

Those booths are basically just shipping containers so they’re just working in an oven – it’s like being down the pit!

Looking ahead to the next few days I think Alaphilippe is done. 

He hasn’t got the team. Enric Mas lost 20 minutes the other day.  

He’s apparently got gastroenteritis so either that is the case or the rumours of him going to Movistar next year are true and he doesn’t want to ride for Alaphilippe anymore because he was meant to be the GC rider. 

He was dropped before Viviani on Sunday so there’s something weird going on… or he actually has got gastroenteritis!

Talking of illness – what’s been up with the Ineos train? We’d usually see Thomas and Egan Bernal behind Wout Poels and Michał Kwiatkowski until the very very end but they weren’t on Sunday. 

Come Thursday in the Alps though I fully expect the Ineos train to get going and once that starts I think Alaphilippe is on his own again. 

Who is going to get his bottles? There’s no way he can do that on his own! 

Thomas will just take it steady and it will be just perfect for him. 

You just don’t know what is going to happen because it’s been that kind of race. 

We’ve got a big drive of about three hours now to get to the finish town of tomorrow’s stage. 

We usually like the pass the time with some music and as I’m writing this we’re currently listening to the soundtrack to A Star Is Born courtesy of Rhodri Gomer-Davies our main S4C anchor is the car DJ! 

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