Criterium du Dauphine Libere — Stage 5

Nyons to Digne-les-Bains


Yesterday Eki drove the second car and I got my well deserved reprise. And rightfully “rested” in my “office” in the back seat. But today the Johan/Eki team were together again in the first car. So, again, I am to test my ability to be 100% aware and concentrate on the road. There is one thing I am not a fan of. And that is driving Mach 5 down a hill. With someone else driving (a team director) it is no big deal. I trust all my directors while driving downhill.

While I may occasionally drive a bit fast in my personal car, it is different when in a race. Driving fast downhill is one thing. Doing it while surrounded by the worlds Elite cyclists in yet another issue. Pushing the envelope to my own life’s regard is my own doing. But to be partially responsible for these well paid athletes is another thing. My safety versus theirs? Easy! Theirs is way more important. And they don’t have a steel shell surrounding them either.

I’m super happy that a break went up the road today. And after only 7 Ks of racing. And after only a short while later, the break reached the magical one minute gap. When the gap gets to one minute or more, team cars are allowed to go up and follow the break. If they have a rider in it. And we had Egoi as our teams representative in today’s breakaway. So, after about 20 Ks of racing, Johan stops and Eki gets into the second car with me to drive behind the breakaway. And now I have a driver to “Chauffeur” me. While we were stopped, Chris and I did some bike swapping. I gave Chris’s car a bike and took Egoi’s spare so we could follow him.

The break lasted the distance and the winner came from this group. But Egoi ended up out of gas. He did not eat enough. A racer is often at his limit. Thinking about eating and drinking (although it should be automatic) is often overlooked until it is too late. Even with rider radios to remind them, it is not always enough. And our rider radio was not working well. We could not remind Egoi to do all the things you know you are supposed to do but often forget. Bummer. We thought if all goes well, Egoi could have had a great shot at a stage win.

I would like to thank Egoi for his hard effort and diligence in his work for the team. For me personally, I did not have to drive the whole day. Egoi’s breakaway meant that Eki drive. And so, I thank you for that Egoi!!


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.