Stage 5 - 228.5km
We knew today was going to be special for a couple of reasons. Firstly, William Wates' parents came out to wave us off, so his father, Andrew, could ride part of the way with us. They are a lovely family and it's so sad that William was lost in such tragic circumstances, however they are all so positive especially with the way this event is now run in his memory.
The second thing was that we were to pass though Lourges - a lovely village in Provence - and to support us the local cycling team had arranged for a special treat.
So at 6am this morning (Wednesday), a team of French cyclists congregated at our hotel - we started by having breakfast together and then they would be riding the whole stage with us.
It was rather humorous to hear the conversations between the local French cyclists and us Brits, who as you know are terrible with languages. John commented that he had a few good conversations with some of the riders, however under intense questioning he admitted to only saying "Bonjour" to them all!
The ride today was a long one - 141 miles, with some rolling hills. A bit tough at first and then onto a wonderful rolling section. I must admit, I'm not the best climber, but these hills were just spot on.
The lunch stop was the highlight though. We pulled into Lourges where we were clapped in by the locals, the Mayor was out to greet us, and the food put on was immense. We actually felt like Pro riders turning up and were treated like superstars.
The wind did blow a bit today although not as bad as it could have. We got in a good group of 7 and worked well together going through and then off the front to save energy as much as possible - it's the fastest way to beat the wind, working together.
The final sting was 3 big rises to get us into Marseille and then thankfully a big drop into the city, eating up the final miles and fighting through the concrete jungle and rush hour traffic, arriving at the hotel almost 12 hours after starting out.
This left very little time for the chores, so a catch up on Thursday night will be in order, although we have to be out by 6am on Thursday morning so it will be another long day!