As we know, strange things happen on a rest day at the Tour de France.
All the riders go for a bike ride, for starters, keeping the legs supple and the system ticking over. Ensuring the body doesn’t tip too far into recovery mode while the small matter of the Pyrenees looms.
Some riders, inevitably, enter the rest day with “good” legs and emerge the other side with “bad”.
The science of this phenomenon is intriguing. It’s all to do, apparently, with the position of the moon in relation to Eddy Merckx’s home town, and the ratios of cheese and ham to béchamel sauce in the lunchtime Croque Monsieur.
Oh, and also the whim of the cycling gods.
And no amount of sports nutrition can interfere with such forces.
I can’t help thinking that the quality of the hotel also comes in to play: a day wandering the corridors of a tired out-of-town Campanile is hardly likely to encourage good legs now, is it?
And so, predictions for the final week of racing are complicated.
Although Chris Froome suffered his usual falls and mishaps early on, he apparently has the best odds to win the Tour de France. This is not surprising – he’s a six time Grand Tour winner and the memory of his near miraculous recovery at this year’s Giro d’Italia makes him so hard to bet against.
But he trails team-mate Geraint Thomas by well over a minute. And despite public pronouncement of harmony (apparently, pretty much genuine) their relationship status is surely, at the very least, complicated.
All scenarios are still currently available.
Thomas could hold on and win. Or, he could crash (literally) and burn (not literally, one would hope…he’s very diligent with the Ambre Solaire, I hear).
Third placed man Tom Dumoulin is breathing down their collective necks like a Lycra clad stalker in breach of his restraining order. Froome, himself, might tire, as that Giro d’Italia win catches up with him.Embed from Getty Images
And then there’s secret scenario number four: Primoz Roglic.
I’m sure you’ve seen the speed skating at the Winter Olympics?
You always get one race where three out of the four competitors get in a tangle and slide off, synchronised, and into the crash barriers, leaving the plucky fourth-placed skater to coast across the line as a surprised Olympic champion.
Primoz Roglic, of Dutch team Lotto-Jumbo, is that fourth placed man.