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Stage 18: Cahors to Angouleme

Today was another somewhat unimportant stage as far as the race standings go. There was a small break which formed early on and included Frenchmen Sandy Casar and Laurent Lefevre, as well as Belgian Axel Merckx and Dutch rider Michael Boogerd. They had a substantial lead and Sandy Casar won the stage.

My day was completely different. I stopped early in the race, around 20-30k from the start. It took the entire day to get back around the race. I found my way easily enough to the autoroute. The race arranges an alternate route for us to follow to get to the finish. It's usually easier to take that because the police are expecting us and it's less hassle to get back on the course. But today, they had the wrong exit number listed and I got off in the wrong place. I got back on the autoroute and on the right road easily enough. But then the second part of the "hors course" was on a heavily used truck route and it was really hard to get around all the trucks. Then there were no directions on which exit to take once we got to Angouleme. There were also no arrows to direct us. Pretty much everyone got lost. I turned on the gps to try and find the final street but it directed me to a tiny street far from the finish and told me I'd reached my destination! I ended up going the old fashioned route and asked someone for directions and then saw some team buses coming off the autoroute and made the finish.

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