Perry’s Tour de France diary: Stage 17 – Pont du Gard to Gap

We often stay in nice towns and sometimes when you’re there for a rest day you get to eat in a nice restaurant and that’s where you try to eat as well as possible – the nicer the restaurant the better really.

Sometimes when you’re travelling with a long transfer – and we had a 280km transfer from yesterday’s finish town – the only place you can be in a service station on the motorway so we stopped off at the garage last night and raided their garage. I got a manky tuna sandwich, which I’m surprised I’m not ill from, a can of juice of some sort, multivitamin or something to keep my vitamins ups, a bag of crisps and a pack of fig rolls.

It filled a gap. And now I’m in Gap (sorry, that was really dreadful!) 

Mandy, our production manager, books our hotels (we call her the hotel ninja, she’s amazing) and sometimes in such a small town like Gap there aren’t as many places available. But luckily we got somewhere really, really close to the finishing line. It was quite an old-fashioned ski hotel that we had, a typical Alpine hotel with wooden shutters. It was quite quaint but I really liked it. 

We were a little bit higher today, about 700m, so it was a little bit cooler. We were in a municipal park with quite a lot of trees and shade but it’s still very, very hot. That said, when it rained in the peloton today it was 39 degrees. When it was raining! There was a little bit of respite for the peloton but it was still very hot. 

I’m really happy that Matteo Trentin got the win because I’m really good mates with his agent Manuel Quinziato. He went at the bottom of the climb, he was the best-placed to attack really and find out if any of his fellow-escapees had any legs and I think the answer to that was ‘no they didn’t’. Kasper Asgreen did quite well but it was Trentin all the way, he was so strong compared to the other guys. It was amazing considering he’d been working so hard for both Yates brothers so to have that in your legs with all the work he’s been doing over the last two-and-a-half weeks is quite special.

Obviously, Mitchelton-Scott came here with GC aspirations with Adam Yates and sadly, he just wasn’t feeling right, but with Simon getting his stage wins and Daryl Impey as well it’s been a fairly successful Tour. I am sure Matt White is going to be very, very happy and team owner Gerry Ryan as well. The Tour hasn’t finished yet but there’s not many teams will come away with four stage wins and it could even be more over the next three days. We’re in the mountains and both Yates brothers will like stages like that. If there’s a two-pronged attack that is going to be special to watch, very special.

It’s going to be doubly good for the audience at home because there’s going to be two races in one. If something like that happens – and I’d certainly expect it because why wouldn’t they? You have the excitement of that and everything going on with the GC guys. That’s what I’m hoping because I love a race like that! 

Talking of the GC battle, I said yesterday that the Ineos train hadn’t been at their best, but Geraint Thomas will need Wout Poels and Michał Kwiatkowski need to be on top, top form over the next three days if he’s to have any chance of winning.

Steven Kruijswijk’s team is amazing, as is Thibaut Pinot’s team so it’s going to be one hell of a battle. Buchmann is there as well but he hasn’t got a team around him so he’s a lone-shooter in a way. 

Someone else you can’t discount is Mikel Landa because if he’s still got the legs after the work he did at the weekend – his attacks were amazing – then god knows what we’ll see! They have to follow him because what happens if he gets a minute on the first day and then two minutes on the second day? If he keeps doing that then he could be on the podium and if he’s really strong then he could win it. The Movistar team are still so strong! 

Luke Rowe and Tony Martin eh? They love each other really.

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