Watch Out

If there's no bunch sprint at the end of this stage. Cycle Sport will sprint naked through the streets of Montargis waving a pair of those big green plastic PMU hands in the air.

One possible, but relatively unlikely dramatic moment could come if the wind is blowing hard (which it doesn't really here at this time of year, so that's probably not going to happen), and the race turns 90 degrees south at Ormesson with just another 36 kilometres to go.


Just read that last paragraph again. After a hectic few opening days, the Tour should settle into a rhythm of start-attacks-break-ride-chase-catch-sprint-Cav wins. We've already written our final draft race report for this stage, just leaving a few strategically placed blanks for the French riders who'll be in the break.

"The main thing I remember was how long that stage was: 330 kilometres. It took us well over nine hours. There was a tradition in the late Sixties of making the last-but-one day of the Tour very long. I didn't mind that, as I proved by winning Bordeaux-Paris seven times, but some didn't like it. Eddy Merckx says he hated those long stages, but I liked riding my bike. I still ride every day.

"I had already won a stage in the 1969 Tour, in the Alps at Briangon, but I wasn't high on the overall, so when I got in a break to Montargis the other teams were OK with it. It wasn't too difficult to win the sprint."

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