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“Both my tyres exploded. That’s something that has never happened to me. We touched 44C at one point. The only time I’ve raced in conditions like that were at the Vuelta. It was absurdly hot."

Photo: Sirotti








17.07.2015 @ 21:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

"Riders are tired, the race is hot. Today was the kind of day when you are glad to watch the sprinters' teams work."


Those were the words of Astana's Andrei Grivko after stage thirteen at the Tour de France. Grivko and the rest of the peloton raced in 40-degree heat across the brown, rolling countryside away from Toulouse on Friday, with a short sharp sprint finish in front of thousands of sweltering fans.


With no mountains to favor the climbers, sprinters came to the front and created breakaways in the wind, then chased into Rodez to a mass finish and a victory for Belgian rider Greg Van Avermaet. Astana Pro Team rider Vincenzo Nibali finished in the same time as Van Avermaet and remained ninth overall in General Classification with eight stages remaining.


Grivko finished a long day of carrying water bottles and food back from the team cars to his teammates, and spent a hard 20 minutes in the second half of the race to bring Nibali back into the main peloton after two flat tires for the 2014 Tour de France champion.


“Both my tyres exploded. That’s something that has never happened to me,” Nibali said. “We touched 44C at one point. The only time I’ve raced in conditions like that were at the Vuelta. It was absurdly hot. 


"But saying that I seemed to feel better and I want to carry on in the Tour without any extra pressure on my shoulders. The Tour hasn’t gone as I hoped, the overall classification is out of the window but I just hope to do something in the next few days.


“Physically I’m fine, even if my numbers here don’t match up to what I was able to do in training before the Tour. I’m trying to find an explanation but it’s not easy to work out in the middle of the Tour. We hope to have a better idea in a few days time.


“I want to take things day by day. I’ve lost a significant chunk of time but yesterday went well and I was able to finish up there with the others but there are still a lot of mountain stages and a lot of racing to go.”


Yesterday manager Alexandre Vinokourov mentioned the possibility of Nibali doing the Vuelta.


“I’ve won it once and went close on a second occasion, finishing second in 2013. It’s an important race but for now I’m focused on finishing the Tour de France, then afterward, we’ll see how things are and decide if I ride the Vuelta or not."


Saturday's stage fourteen is mostly flat but finishes with a steep slimb up the Côte de la Croix Neuve into Mende. Hot weather is expected to remain, but rain and summer thunderstorms in the afternoon could bring about an unexpected finish.



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