Maybe I went a bit too hard yesterday. Whatever it was, today was the first day I felt really tired. There is a general tiredness across the peloton, you can see that, especially when you see the newbies who have come out to do a few stages and there we are feeling a bit jaded. Still loving it, no problem with that, just the edge is missing. We cycled out and the big focus of the day was to be the double ascent of Alpe d'Huez. I rode it years ago, and found it amazing; it then climbs to the ski station with a series of uphill sections, linked to the 21 bends. It weaves its way up the mountain like a snake. Hitting the start I felt good actually, and climbed up much better than I did in 2006 when I last did it. I chatted with Jamie, asking questions, so I didn’t have to talk as much, as the lack of oxygen started to hit about half way up. It was OK, not terrible, but challenging.

Great, now we have to eat, descend and then go back up it….!

We went off the back of the Alpe down a descent that is lethal. I’m not joking when I say I actually think this could be extremely dangerous in the tour in a week’s time. The drop-offs were huge, the road surface terrible. I've defended on lots of roads but this one is perhaps the worst I've seen and to have a 180-strong peloton racing it scares me.

We did it, thankfully not racing it, and then headed back round for the final ascent of the Alpe.

In its simplest form, I put the bike in the low gear and ground up at a steady pace; there was little else I could do. It took much longer than the first climb, so arriving at the top was the most welcome sight ever. Hopefully, I feel better tomorrow as it's now been decided tomorrow’s stage is the hardest of them all!!!! Joy. Here's the video from today's action Stage 18 review

A big thank you today to Pete Corcoran and the Blueleaf team for sponsoring this stage!