Stage 2: Bruxelles Palais Royal to Brussel Atomium

Cycling summary

Breakfast: 07:00. Transfer: none. Start time: 08:30. Distance: 27km. Terrain: flat (highest point 109 metres, 350 metres climbing). Climbs: none. Finish: 12:15. Time in saddle: 2h22. Temp 25C. Drinks: 1.5 litres.

Suffer scores: John 1/10. Roomie (Wim) 0/10.

Local lowdown

The atomium is one of the most popular sightseeing attractions in Brussels. If we had time, we would be able to go up and enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view over the city. Like the Eiffel Tower that we are ultimately aiming for, when it was originally constructed (for the 1958 World Fair) it was never intended to be a permanent structure. We have some locals with us for the first few days and they say there is a good restaurant up there and that parties of school kids can get to stay overnight at the Atomium, which sounds like fun.

The Atomium marks the end of the time trial route

Tale from the Tour

A very sedate ride today, averaging just under 20kph. We actually rode 53km because we first rode to the start from the hotel and then back to the hotel from the finish. Again, a lot was on cycle paths which are fine for getting about but a bit of a pain if you just want to ride. Never mind, we will be out of the city tomorrow and riding on open roads in France.

Official start at the Palais Royal

Before we started the official route, there was time to pop down the road from the Palais Royal to visit the Grand Place, whose cathedral we only saw from a distance yesterday. There was an option to stop for a coffee before embarking on the stage route, but Roly, Gerard and I opted to just take a few photos and then crack on. The thought of getting back to the hotel to generally relax and enjoy the swimming pool was too alluring.

The four sides of the Grand Place:

Although our route was slow, we could tell that the team time trial that’s going to take place here will be fast. Wide, flat roads that should be good to watch. The course is pretty too, with its tree-lined roads and excursion into a park.

Team time trial
Aero pose – in truth one of the few times we got any speed up

That’s about it for today. Bike is fully charged and the chain is clean and oiled. Going to go for a swim now. Early start tomorrow, with coach transfer to the start of Stage 3.

Wim is probably correct that the suffer score should be 0 today, but I’ve gone for 1 on the basis that there was a lot of stop/start.

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