I have been following the results all week with mild interest, but today I caught a photo in the article by Cycling News which made my heart skip a beat. The jersey for best climber was awarded to Remi Pauriol by the family of Rifat Caliskan, who was at one time, Turkey's answer to Eddy Merckx. Rifat was a personal friend of our family. He raced with my father in the late 60s and when I was in Turkey back in 1989 as a very promising junior, he guided my training that summer to the podium of a big criterium [points] race in Corum. I finished 2nd to that year's elite Turkish National Road Champion, with junior gearing. I smoked every junior there of course, making me the virtual winner of my age group. I also snagged 10th in the road race the day prior. Little did I know at the time that my lithe 145 pound frame had just achieved the very peak of it's bike racing career. Life requirements and family misfortune made it a downhill journey from there on.. So I digress. The name Rifat Caliskan reminds me of so many things though. Rifat passed away recently, not too long after my father was taken from us by lung cancer.
Above, André Greipel (Team HTC - Columbia) took a hard-fought victory in stage five.