It’s 6.30 pm here at the Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007, and there’s more pics being taken around the pool, somebody is late and the photographer isn’t happy ‘cos he’s lost the light. Enthusiasm isn’t high: a six hour run saw to that today. It’s another six hour job tomorrow too.

I just had my interview with Simoni, he smiles a lot and he’s polite but he’s easily bored. I’ve been watching guys interview him and none of the conversations last too long. He seems in a little world of his own, ‘Planet Gilbo’ as one of his ‘squadra’ told me.

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007
Juice stop.

I did another big stint of word processing this morning: the Millar, Doria and SIS pieces, and after that I had to tempoarily abandon my role as a big-time journo, returning to my other role of guiser to go in search of T-cut for the Yaris. I’m glad I didn’t leave it until tomorrow, it took an age to find some. I put the car through a car wash first, with a hand pre-wash and hand chamois after; it was 6 euros = 4 quid… how is everything so expensive in Scotland? I did my Arthur Dailey thing with the polish on the Yaris bumper and wing and it looks great now, well, kinda…

There’s hilarity outside. A couple of the guys have jumped in the pool, racing gear on, at the request of the photographer, so he can get some ‘daft’ shots. Morale certainly seems good. Pascal was telling me there’s an agreement amongst the riders that in the group pictures they all stand on their tip-toes to make Simoni look (even) smaller – unbeknownst to Gilbo, obviously.

It’s 18.45 and my long-promised ten minutes with Iban Mayo has just been organised – for 9.30; that’ll be 10.00 if I’m lucky. There’ll be no wee bar, tapas and a Cruzcampo for Ed tonight, then.

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007
Why stand when you can sit?

It’s 20.35 and the Simoni interview has been written-up and emailed, along with some pics of Gilbo giving our readers the ‘thumbs up.’

Hotel lobby, 21.10 and I’m taking no chances about missing the man with the mullet, but It’s 22.10 when I finally get my time with Iban. It just goes to show – you should never judge a man by his haircut! He’s quiet, polite and his ready smile is for real, not like Gilbo’s “turn-on the joker act”.

The interview will be on the site soon, but the jist of it is that he needed a change from Euskaltel after seven seasons with the expectation of the Basque nation on his shoulders and no team riders or staff from anywhere except the Pays Basque. I think Gianetti will get a lot more out of Iban than we’ve seen for a while.

It was midnight by the time I get that written-up and emailed off to Vancouver. Bed time – for sure!