I’ll try to make this quick, Lance. It’s short notice, I know, because you’re already on the road, but I guess Mr Bruyneel has wifi and a laptop in the manager’s car and can pass my advice on to you via your earpiece. If Radio Shack can’t keep up with the latest technology, who can?
Yesterday’s stage had far too many falls, and soon you’ll soon be riding over the feared cobblestone section of the route. I see Stuart O’Grady predicted there would be ‘carnage’ there, and I think Stuart was looking forward to that. He’s good on the bumps and won the classic Paris-Roubaix over these notorious speedhumps a few years back.
I’ve learned a bit about cobbles from living in Amsterdam. That’s one of our roads above. It’s a shame my bike came out a bit dark in the picture, because I wanted you to get a good look at it. It’s exactly the sort you need for riding those rocks – solid and upright, with really thick padding on the saddle. If you don’t have one like that on top of the support vehicle, get them to rush on ahead and rent one. You can get them at any Belgian train station and they’re quite reasonably priced.
Mind you, there are worse cobblestones in this world than the ones you’ll be riding over. I tried out these ones in Tallinn, Estonia recently.
Lance, another possible reason O’Grady and I are so good on the cobbles is that Dutch, French and Belgian cobblestones are nothing compared to the sort we have in our native Australia. In the tough land downunder, you think you’re doing it easily on the flat, then suddenly the road surface gets rough. “That’s not a cobblestone – this is a cobblestone!”
STOP PRESS: Oh no, Lance, you got a flat tyre on the cobblestones!!!! I warned you that you’d need a city bike like mine with ‘anti-lek’ (anti-leak) tyres, but did you listen??? No, you tried to do it on those silly skinny wheels and lost valuable seconds. Next time I give you advice, take it – local knowledge matters!