The Chase

Stage 3 - Annvers to Huy

I thought yesterday was a bad day, waking up with a pounding headache, sneezing and not sleeping properly meant I was going to have an extremely poor start to my day. More to the point of having a melt down. Rest assured as much as Antwerp is a beautiful city, it does have it's dark side. 

Last night I was contemplating of leaving my car on the street but I decide to pay a little bit and park it in the hotel's garage. Turns out this morning, 17 cars belonging to ASO got broken into. Even Liege has a bad reputation. I remember during the 2012 TdF, I had my hotel in the heart of Liege and I left my car on the street overnight with a few other media organisations. Next morning, the second car behind mine had their window smashed. i already endured a huge heartache during the 2012 Giro and I certainly don't want a repeat.

Reverting back to the start of the day, , I miss read my GPS and the final kilometre heading to the start line turned into a 20 kilometre detour around the ring road of Antwerp. Little did I know that much of my early afternoon was going to be spent on the ring road itself.

This morning's start required an extensive detour to get back on to the race course, however I left the start too late and I wasn't permitted to get on the race course. My only other option was to head for the auto-route but even the roads leading to the auto-route was blocked. The final option was to backtrack to the start line and follow the Hors Course directions. 

To my horror, entering the E34 auto-route to Liege was more akin to a parking lot. Nothing was moving at all. All I could utter in disappointment was "teste di cazzo!!!!" and the confronting thought of missing out on another finish was very real. It took an incrediblly long time for the traffic to get moving and by 3.45pm I was in Huy.

Even though my day start off terribly, my evening ended on a surprisingly happy note. It's good to discover true Italians in Belgium and an amazing pizzeria. 

by Veeral Patel