Our first day in France and my Trek bike was back in action, riding the Ribble was good, a really nice bike, bit being back on my Trek felt so good. The distance between the start and finish today was only about 30 Kilometres down the coast, but our ride took us in a wide arc to the south and covered 120 Kilometres (with a little detour). Our first experience of the the beautiful French countryside which was at its best today.

Again our support team was out in action for any mechanical issues and setting up our stops for lunch and breaks, The food is fantastic, friends have been worried I would lose weight, with what’s on offer there is no chance of that, not only is there plenty but even though our stops are at the roadside, it is restaurant standard. Now that we are in France our support team has been boosted by 11 others, their job to clear the road in front of us so we pass unhindered through the junctions. With support cars and motorcycle outriders I don’t think it could get much better than this everyone knows we are on our way and wait for this group of cyclists to go through.

In preparation for the Tour next week some of the roads were having new tarmac laid, so our escorts took us on a diversion, eventually we got back on the route but the diversion had added an extra 20k, For those in the UK thinking about coming out to watch next week, head for the climb at 30k, a cobbled category 4 climb. It was my first cobble climb, and for the professionals on the Tour it might give those looking for a breakaway a chance to put some distance in to the peloton.

The weather got even better today, it was glorious, and made the riding even easier. Towards the end we crested the final climb of the day to see the English Channel in front of us, the view was so clear we could see the white cliffs of Dover in the distance. This was the last run in to the finish in Calais with about 30K to go, we had split in to two group and I was luck enough to find myself in the lead group, but remembering the advice from Mike and Andy not to push too hard too early I stayed at the back and as the rest pushed on to the finish line, I took my time to savour my first French stage of the Tour De France.

The Tour just gets better and better, for now it is on to our team bus and a two hour drive to Lille before dinner, massages and a good nights rest, before a stage I have been looking forward to – The Cobbles

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