Another long stage over 200km. Most likely to be largely quiet with a few breakaways until after the sprint around 66km to go. In a post-stage interview Geraint Thomas revealed that quiet stages like this, particularly in this first week of the Tour, make for incredibly nervous riding, prone to crashes.
Writer’s are famous for their writer’s block – although there are the block-deniers! – but I think that there is the writing equivalent of early Tour stage crashes.
For a lot of people writing is a nervy affair. There are so many habits, superstitions, omens, about the task of attaching your bottom to a chair and actually writing. Then when you are writing there is a creeping worry that something must be wrong because nothing is actually going wrong or preventing you from writing.
The Tour riders are nervous and twitchy, which is often the reason why crashes happen, so writers do the same.
Okay no other writers physically clip their back wheel or fall down in front of them, but they let ‘something’ put them off their stride. I think this possibly happens to other creatives as well. Watching Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition, I have seen the odd contestant get halfway through a painting and then wipe off what they’ve done or cover over part of the picture, with some undefined reason as to why.
The peloton (the name given to the whole group of riders) is competitive. The fight for general classification overall and position in each stage is obvious and physical, against each other and against themselves, but there is also a strong sense of camaraderie and unity. These riders love doing what they are doing. The money isn’t fantastic unless you are lucky enough to be a big tour winner or a noted classics rider. These guys ride bikes. Even if it wasn’t their day job then they would be riding their bikes.
Most likely it is their capacity to suffer and push themselves well past any normal limits is the reason why they are professionals.
How do you match up in your respective area of creativity?
Are you professionals in your attitude and habits?
Do you make the sacrifices?
Do you suffer and push yourselves to the limit?
213.5km – Reims to Nancy – Sprinters teams to the fore and a win for Elia Vivianni – a rider who has now won sprint stages in all 3 Grand Tours.
One of the moments which sticks out for me on this stage is an interview with Mike Tienussen. He wore the maillot jaune for the first 3 stages and when asked for his thoughts and feelings about not wearing it for this stage, his response was completely upbeat. He talked about the experience being one of happiness and something that he would look back as such long after he had finished being a professional cyclist. He wasn’t down about not being the leader any more. He counted himself to be lucky enough to be one of only a small number of people who would ever wear the Tour leader’s jersey.