Approximately 850 km from the Muur, the first Control Point lies at the foot of ‘the dream road of the Alps’. After getting their brevet card stamped at the Explorer Hotel, in the town of Gaschurn, riders will commence the parcours, along the Silvretta Hochalpenstraße, considered to be one of the most beautiful and popular panoramic roads in the Austrian Alps. It's 22.3 km long and leads in 34 curves up to the 2.032 m high, providing unique views in a wonderful natural landscape. At the summit is the Silvretta reservoir which dominates the Bierlerhöhe. From here they'll descend down into the picturesque town of Tirol, Austria, an onwards towards CP2 in Solvenia.
Day two starts with Craig Bachelor (#197) who in the early hours was in an accident on a cycle path as he passed Lake Constance. Stephane Ouaja (#12) was not far behind so was able to assist and called an ambulance, and now Craig is in hospital with a reported broken leg. Craig is devastated, and understandably so. Craig applied for TCRNo5 but was dissapointed to not receive an entry. Around the same time he was diagnosed with Mononucleosis which gave him chronic fatigue symptoms for the next year. He has fought back to full health and to be in a position to competitively race TCRNo6, so this accident is a cruel blow. We really hope Craig recovers quickly and returns next year.
Some of you may be wondering why dot number 15 suddenly appeared in the leading pack overnight - Bernd Paul (#15) had unknowingly lost his tracker, and by chance a control car passed him and asked him where his tracker was. They quickly fitted him with a new one and just like that we had a new rider in the leader midst. Bernd Paul was in fact the first rider to pass though CP1 at about 6:45am. Half an hour later he was joined by Stephane Ouaja (#12) and then Bjorn Lenhard (#2). The rest of the top ten were close behind and by midday it had become a constant stream of riders checking in. The lead riders are now fast approaching CP2, with James Hayden (#1) back in the top 3 after a rest.
In terms of route there seems to be only one way from CP1 to CP2 which is via Innsbruck, but let's wait to see what happens when the bulk of riders pass through as there does seem to be the opportunity of going south via Passo del Rombo, which would of course be a monumental mistake, and the kind of thing that would fill us all with devilish glee.
Looking towards the back of the pack, we can breath a sigh of relief that Arjan Zwanenburg (#160) is finally back on the straight and narrow, though not without one final jaunt down a dead end. Just to keep us on our toes.
We were so busy watching #160 that we failed to notice Osvaldo Navia (#75) leave Gerrardsbergen and go on an unconventional route to CP1 via Brussels, sitting in the capital until almost 3pm on Monday. Possible mechanical problems, possible tracker issues, probable waffle buying. He then went even further North skirting Antwerp. He's now made his way to the Rhine route but there's a chance he'll pop in to Frankfurt for some Sauerkraut before finally heading south.
Bruno Ferraro (#159) posted on Instagram "Trying to do my best beside the bad luck. I'm a lost dot but I'll appear next days in a quite good position." so we think he's having some mechanical issues.
We're delighted to see that the Grupetto Gang have now joined the Peleton at Lake Constance, with Mark Charles (#99) leading the way into the valley.
In other news...
Today has been hot, hot, hot. Some riders have been reporting temperatures reaching 38 degrees, some have even had a bit of sun stroke. The riders have been doing what they can to keep cool:
Buying multiple bottles of water is just the start...
They also took a moment to wash their stinky bits...
...and to have a bath in the local water fountains...
...and taking showers in the town's water features. I'm sure the locals are delighted.
Frankly going through the car wash doesn't seem the worst idea a rider's had:
In fact it's so hot they are literally leaking salt:
You know it's hot when you start strapping frozen vegetables to your body:
Wishing you all a cool evening, adios until tomorrow!