This Tour’s a hot one |

This Tour’s a hot one

Andrew Hood

This year’s Tour is being labeled as the hottest in decades. Temperatures have soared into the mid-90s each day since the Tour started July 5 in Paris.

“It’s the hottest Tour we can remember,” said Lance Armstrong after Tuesday’s stage. “We’ve had hot days before, but never so many in a row.

Tour race doctor Dr. Gerard Porte predicts mass abandons in the Pyrenees if the heat wave continues.

“I fear that if the high temperatures continue there will be a lot of abandons in the Pyrenees. So far, we’ve had few abandons at the start of the Tour, but 22 in the Alps in the three days,” he told L’Equipe. “Because they arrive in form at the Tour, they don’t feel the fatigue in the first eight days. But after that you start to see riders eliminated, abandons, digestive problems, cramps and tendonitis. All that happens in the second half of the Tour.”

Riders took stock after the rigors of the first week. Most teams were preparing for the battle that lies ahead and planned to keep their riders hydrated. Many teams, including Credit Agricole and Cofidis, have reported their riders have gone through 15 to 20 bidons a day when normally they might use half that.

“This year is exceptional. We’ve had extreme conditions with the riders and who, despite this correct hydration, have lost two, three, sometimes four kilos by a day’s finish,” said Cofidis’ team doctor Jean-Jacques Menuet.

Tour sponsor Aquarel, the official water supplier of the race, has reported that demands for water from teams has doubled since the beginning of the week. To meet demands, Aquarel is bringing in 30 percent bottled water into Toulouse for the final half of the Tour.

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