A guide to the Tour de France
On the rest day, the competitors go for a ride, otherwise it's too much of a shock for their bodies when they have to tackle another stage the next day. The Cycling Podcast does its Press Conference, ITV4 have a highlights programme...in fact, everyone turns down the intensity, but keeps going in case it's just to hard to start up again.
So here is the rest day diary.
The Cycling Podcast's edition yesterday dealt with Stage 9 to Roubaix - just in an audio magazine journalism type way. They left the clearing up of bodies, punctured inner tubes, and jettisoned water bottles to others who are no doubt more qualified.
François Thomazeau told us that Romain Bardet was feeling great yesterday, but he just kept puncturing. Was there a tyre pressure issue, wondered FT?
Mitchelton Scott manager Matt White voiced his opinion that Bardet had had too much help from the TV motorbikes. 'TV need to get out of the way. When television had a major effect on the race, that's just not right.'
We weren't shown much of Bardet's final recovery to join the peloton near the finish line, but I suppose White saw it with his own eyes. There was corroboration from Toms Skujins, who was in the Bardet/Landa group. Quoted in the Guardian, he said, 'We definitely had some situations when the cars shouldn't have been there. First of all it was dangerous. But there were a couple of times when I thought we were suddenly a little bit too fast - we were doing 55-plus kilometres an hour on flat, maybe slightly uphill roads, and then looking up you see the motorbike.'
It's true that there should be more consistency - I imagine Tom Dumoulin might agree, after his 20s penalty for draughting the other day.
I had the impression that the successful breakaway of Lampaert, Degenkolb, and van Avermaet were helped by the TV motorbike, and I still remember the assistance TV motorbikes gave Lilian Calmejane on Stage 8 of the 2017 Tour. He probably would have won the stage anyway, but the chasing Robert Gesink was left with no chance.
Richard Moore, masquerading as Ed Reardon for a moment, picked up on the use of the word 'decimated' by television's Daniel Friebe. Technically, it means reduce by 10%, Moore pointed out.
Trek Segafredo sports director Steven de Jongh spoke about Degenkolb. The German wasn't certain of a Tour place until a good performance in the Tour de Suisse. De Jongh: 'We were super-happy to have John Degenkolb.' Brilliant! Another one for the total.
Ned Boulting (short, as you may know, for Conned van Boultingsdorp) put together a fun little film of taking on the cobbles on folding bikes. The footage was taken around Roubaix, and van Boultingsdorp spliced and edited it on the transfer south east towards the Alps:
Meanwhile, there was a less flippant look at riding the cobbles from Team Sunweb:
Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 2 out of 9
Stage 10 of the Tour de France 2018 is 159km from Annecy to le Grand Bornand. This first stage in the Alps comes after a rest day.
Read about Stage 10 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Arras is the capital of the Pas-de-Calais département, within the Hauts-de-France region. It is the historic centre of the county of Artois, and is situated at the confluence of the Scarpe and Crinchon rivers.
The first known settlement here was by the Gauls, and they called it Nemetocenna, meaning 'sacred place'. It was a a garrison town under the Romans. In 667, the Abbey of Saint Vaast was founded, and the basis of the modern town grew up around it as a grain market. The name Arras was used from the C12th, and its origin is uncertain.
Arras was close to the front line during much of World War I, and around three quarters of it was destroyed. Arras is about 7 miles away from Vimy Ridge, where the Battle of Vimy Ridge took place on 9th April 1917. There's a memorial to Canadian soldiers there.
In World War II, Arras was the scene of an unsuccessful counterattack by the British in May 1940, as the Germans advanced towards the Channel coast.
The local population is around 43,000, and it attracts many more visitors for its historic architecture.
There are two squares in the centre of Arras, the Grand'Place and the Place des Héros. They are surrounded by Flemish Baroque style town houses, originally built in the C17th and C18th, but re-built after World War I. The town hall has a belfry, originally built from 1463 to 1554, but re-built after the first World War.
The Boves is a network of underground tunnels which can be visited. The tunnels were designed to connect the cellars of residents, and they were used as bunkers to protect people and possessions from bombs during both wars.
The Citadelle, where Stage 9 starts, was built by Vauban between 1667 and 1672. It has never been involved in heavy fighting, but members of the French Resistance were shot there during World War II.
Maximilien de Robespierre, a key character at the time of the French Revolution, was a deputy from Arras.
Arras is twinned with Ipswich (UK).
This was the first of France's regional natural parks, created in 1968. It's also the smallest, and the most densely populated.
Scarpe-Escaut park is based around the Scarpe and Escaut (or Scheldt) rivers, and consists of marshes, flat agricultural land, and landscapes with a history of mining and industry.
Cambrai is a town in the Nord département and the Hauts-de-France region. It's on the Scheldt river (known locally as the Escaut). The population is around 32,000.
The Romans had a town here, which was the capital of the province of Nervii.
The history of this area during the Middle Ages is complicated. Cambrai was part of the lands to the east of France, belonging to the Holy Roman Empire, until 1677 when it was captured for France by Louis XIV. Prosperity in the Middle Ages came from weaving, particularly woollen cloth and linen.
Two legendary figures, Martin and Martine, are said to have protected Cambrai in the C14th. They appear as bell-ringer statues on Cambrai's bell tower, and giant Martin and Martine figures are paraded through the town during the summer festival in August.
Cambrai was the Duke of Wellington's HQ, when he led the British Army of Occupation after Waterloo (1815 to 1818).
The Germans occcupied Cambrai during World War I, and burned the town centre before leaving. The Battle of Cambrai took place nearby in late 1917, and it was notable for the use of tanks.
There was further destruction of buildings in Cambrai during World War II, with bombing by the Germans during the Battle for France in May 1940, and by the Allies in April to August 1944.
Cambrai is twinned with Gravesend, Kent (UK) and Houma, Louisana (US).
Roubaix is a town of about 96,000 people within the Lille metropolitan area. It grew rapidly in the C19th as the textile industry expanded. The Canal de Roubaix crosses the town.
The name Roubaix probably comes from the Frankish rausa (reed) and baki (brook).
In cycling, Roubaix is famous as the finish of the Paris-Roubaix race. Also known as the Hell of the North, the finish line is in Roubaix's velodrome.
Roubaix is twinned with Bradford, West Yorkshire (UK).
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