With six French road race wins this season alone, including a tour, Doug is now considering which offers from prospective teams will progress him to the next level.

I’m writing this having just read my previous post back to myself. I’d say this weekend I was less “at one with the bike” and more at one with the floor…

Stage one of the Saint Brieuc Agglo Tour was 140km with six short circuits at the end to enjoy the sights of the town. When I say sights, I mean the piggish climbs, and when I say enjoy, I mean detest. Joyfully the organisers decided to send us up the steepest climb of the course about 500m after the depart which was just fantastic for all involved.

Just like Le Pertre last Monday I got into the break of the day (by riding across to it), but again just like on Monday I was in a box. I used my few good efforts getting to the breakaway and after that it was pretty much game-over Casanova. I dangled on and off the back until 10km to go, when les jambes ont explosé and I did my best to get to the finish without losing too much time to the leaders. I lost a minute to nine riders which I don’t think is bad given my physical state by the end!

Sunday morning was the time trial – 8.6km, pan flat, a few corners, rain – right up my street basically. I did a super long warm-up, doing my best to ignore the soigneur who was standing approximately 15cm away from me and kept trying to make conversation. Previous episodes with this man include him exclaiming that English riders are grumpy after I just missed out on winning a stage in Essor Breton, and him telling me I’m 10 kilogrammes overweight. But I digress.

I felt pretty dreadful for almost all of the warm-up but finally my legs came good before the off, and with some fire in my belly I headed down the ramp. I was seriously up for this one. Before the second 90-degree right-hand corner I was coming in much too fast (see the title), the roads were treacherous, and I locked up my front wheel in a straight line.

Once you’ve lost your front wheel you’ve got about 0.001 seconds to contemplate life before you’re sliding down a road on your arse at 55kph. I got up, I got back on, and I kept pushing. I felt so strong, it was tragic. I finished 31 seconds down and a lot of people there told me it was mine for the taking, but that’s how sport is sometimes.

The afternoon stage was 97km on a 6.5km circuit so lots of laps, and every lap had about 2km of climbing and 2km of descending. The break went from the gun, which was jolly unsporting and what was also a bit below the belt was how much pain my right hand side was giving me.

In the end I climbed off after about 45km because I couldn’t hold the bars properly and honestly I couldn’t make myself do it anymore. My plan for this week is to regroup, re-energise and aim for something big to finish the year off.

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