Less than two minutes separates the top three pro men after the penultimate day of the Trans Provence as Francois Bailley-Maitre leads Jerome Clementz with Jamie Nicoll in third; and there’s only five minutes between the top three women as Ines Thoma, Anita Gehrig and Anka Martin battle it out.
DAY 5 /// VALDEBLORE – SOSPEL
Tiredness, attrition, wear and tear – day 5 is where it shows.
A broken rib, smashed knuckles, most people carrying some kind of grazes somewhere; smooth riders pinch flat, and other people mysteriously burn through a set of brake pads in a day, where before a pair had lasted all week.
We’ve lost a racer today as well, with Ben Cruz out with an unrepairable mechanical.
Those stats are telling lies again as well – Day 5 on paper looks like a good gravity deal. Lots of down compared to up but tempered by a whopper of a climb at the beginning and some of the most physical downhills of the week. Depending on your mindset it’s either the most amazing on sight trail you’re ever going to ride, or being simultaneously shaken and terrified while you receive dead arms by that bully from school.
The racing is really heating up as well. Jerome Clementz was the leader this morning after finding an extra 20+ seconds from somewhere, only for it all to be taken away after a small crash this afternoon.
Tomorrow will be a celebration for everyone regardless of whether they’re here to race to win, or whether they’re battling for 46th place, or just want to get to Menton and the beach in one piece. To find their last reserves of energy, ride fast but not crash, ride hard but protect the bike; to savour the last col, the last corner, to see the end of a great adventure.
DAY 5 RESULTS
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER DAY 5