There are plenty of blogs that analyse the race better than I can, so something I have come to enjoy doing when writing about pro cycling is look around the edges at something different.
Montfort-sûr-Meu near the city of Rennes in Brittany is the hometown of 26 year old Tour debutant Julien Simon. It is just down the road from where I am staying for 3 weeks holiday. Simon was on my radar last year and it was nice to see he got selected for his first Tour de France. It gives me a good reason to follow one of the lesser known teams and riders in the race.
He is leading the French domestic race series, similar to the Premier Calendar, but with a scoring system that lasts the whole season. He also won two stages of the Tour of Catalonia and is breaking through to a new chapter in his career with new found confidence in his ability.
Image: Laurie Beylier
Classed as a ‘puncheur’, with no obligations in the mountains, he was still expected to contest for a top 10 place on Stage 1. Unfortunately he crashed near the end of the stage and rolled in a few minutes down. He did not feel 100% during yesterday’s flat stage but today’s stage in the Nord-pas-de-Calais suits a one-day rider like him, with a series of stiff little climbs in the final 35km.
Sagan is the favourite but for interest I will be keeping an eye out for Julien Simon’s result. Unfortunately I doubt the cameras will be on him. However I’ll be able to find out in tomorrow’s Ouest-France (Brittany’s regional newspaper), where he has a daily mini-column.