5 things to know about Tour de France

    Associated Press
July 8, 2013

Five things to know as the Tour de France enters its 10th stage on Tuesday:---1. ZZZZZZZZZ - After nine torrid days of riding, on the 10th day they rested. In hotels in and near Saint-Nazaire on France's western coast, the 182 riders who survived the Tour's bruising first week were sleeping, eating, and sleeping some more Monday to recharge their batteries for the middle section of three weeks of racing. Smart riders know that to stop riding altogether is a recipe for stiff legs, so many wheeled out their bikes for a few hours to keep their engines ticking. How times have changed. Three-time winner Greg LeMond recalled in a recent interview with French sports newspaper L'Equipe that he used to play golf on a rest day. Perhaps the most legendary rest day episode involved Jacques Anquetil. The story goes that he overindulged on roast mutton and booze after crashing a radio station's barbecue party during the 1964 Tour, and paid the price the next day. He initially struggled on a mountain ascent, but with some prodding from his team and a little luck - his top rival blew a flat - Anquetil went on to win his fifth Tour, a record since matched but never beaten.---2. BACK IN THE SADDLE - You can bet Chris Froome will not have been so devil-may-care. The Kenya-born Briton will wear the leader's yellow jersey in Tuesday's 10th Stage. It shouldn't be too rude an awakening for riders as it's a mostly flat 197-kilometer (122.4-mile) ride across Brittany from Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo. The next test to Froome's grasp on the leader's shirt comes Wednesday with the first individual time-trial, up to the majestic island citadel of Mont-Saint-Michel.---3. TIGHT-LIPPED BRAILSFORD - Dave Brailsford, the manager of Froome's Sky squad, insists his riders won't collapse again in the mountains like they did in Sunday's ninth stage. Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte and several other Sky riders were dropped on the first big climb. That left Froome, the pre-race favorite, to fend for himself for the next 125 kilometers and over three more monster ascents. But he held on, solo, to keep the yellow jersey. "(Using) a boxing analogy, he's taken the biggest right hook he could face, and he didn't flinch," Brailsford said. "You learn more from adversity." Asked what Sky's plan would be to avoid a repeat scenario, he said: "I'm not going to spell it out. I'm not going to go into the details of the changes we're going to make."---4. DUELLING MANIFESTOS - The candidates to run cycling's governing body used the Tour's rest day to publicize their visions for the future of a sport trying to move beyond its doping past. UCI boss Pat McQuaid, who is seeking a third four-year term, insisted the sport has changed for the better during his tenure as he unveiled his manifesto for cycling's future. He wants to "preserve the new culture and era of clean cycling," develop women's cycling, and authorize an independent audit to look into the UCI's actions between 1999 and 2005, the period when Lance Armstrong won seven Tour titles before they were stripped for doping. Brian Cookson, the head of British Cycling who put out his own manifesto last month as part of his own candidacy, retorted Monday in a statement that he believed people will "ask why those things haven't been done in the last eight years" under McQuaid.---5. RIDERS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN? - Cyclists know about pain, sweat and hard work. The Orica GreenEdge team proves they know how to have fun too. The Australian squad and some filmmaking-savvy helpers have put together an online video tribute to legendary rock `n' roll band AC/DC in which the riders don wigs, strum on floppy toy guitars and even play air guitar on a Tour podium to the tune of the Australian band's classic, "You Shook Me All Night Long." Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey do their riffs while in the yellow jersey that they both wore last week. Others played along, too. BMC's Philippe Gilbert and fellow Belgian Eddy Merckx, a five-time Tour champion, get cameos. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?vfAl1-mBhFpU---AP Sports Writers John Leicester and Jerome Pugmire contributed to this report.



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