The weather remains bad, and the food is getting worse. It?s rapidly turning into the holiday, sorry, work trip from hell.
The further south we go, the more stingy our hosts are becoming. Full marks to the local bigwigs at Amilly ? they couldn?t provide much of an atmosphere for the Prologue, but they more than made up for it with a huge spread of complementary food. It ticked all the boxes ? protein, check; rich sauce, check.
Yesterday, an unfortunate combination of events forced me to miss lunch. I foolishly overlooked the fact that in France, shops which sell lunch close for two hours at lunchtime. Stress levels rose in direct proportion to my blood sugar levels dropping. I thought I?d make up for by helping myself to whatever local speciality Nevers could provide. Alas, all they could muster was muffins, stale croissants and muddy coffee.
And today, our hosts at Belleville have laid on a spectacular spread of instant coffee. Grrrr.
At least I?m not the only person in a foul mood. The riders have been reacting badly to the cold and wet by making themselves available for as few interviews as they can get away with. I asked for a short interview with Christian Vande Velde before the start in Amilly, but Tom Peterson answered on his behalf. He didn?t even have to say ?no?, the laugh said it all. Fair enough, they were about to have half the Atlantic Ocean dropped on their head as they raced to Nevers.
Philippe Gilbert, would it have been possible to have a quick chat at your hotel last night?
No, it would appear not.
And then, when I finally collared a rider willing to talk, hell, in the form of other journalists, intervened. The friendly, approachable and co-operative Thor Hushovd was just getting to the interesting bit about his Prologue ride, when a Flemish journalist wandered over, interrupted him, and asked if he ?wanted to win the sprint the next day?.
He asked a sprinter if he wanted to win a sprint. I can only assume that he already had the scoop about the Pope being Catholic.
Did you enjoy coffee for lunch? Email us at email@example.com
Every day this week, Cycling Weekly uses a product provided by one of the teams in Paris-Nice.
After my success at the Caisse d?Epargne cashpoint (see blog, day one), I was confident that the dairy product-manufacturing giant from Germany wouldn?t let me down.
Imagine how cheesed off I was when I asked Milram directeur sportif Vittoio Algeri for a free sample, and it transpired he didn?t have any.
?It?s the first time. We always bring some cheese to the races,? he said.
?Yoghurt to be kidding,? I didn?t say.
PARIS-NICE SPONSOR-STRAVAGANZA STANDINGS
Caisse d?Epargne 8/10
Milram score: 0/10
Tomorrow, CW asks Rabobank for some money
Paris-Nice blog: part one
Stage one analysis
Millar goes down but isn’t out
Prologue analysis: winners and losers
Big names line up for Paris-Nice and defy UCI
Teams vote to ride Paris-Nice
Paris-Nice preview: does the route suit David Millar?