Them sprinters are big guys — I passed them in the tunnel tonight, they looked cool, cocky, stylish.
The public here love the sprinters; at intro time, they actually get their big build up from Daniel Mangeas after the six day riders.
Bauge did a standstill for more than half-an-hour, in Gent there would be bricks getting lobbed at him, but in Grenoble — they love it.
Mangeas talked non stop for the 34 minutes whilst Sireau plied Bauge with champagne.
There was a visit from Tour de France organiser, Christian Prudhomme tonight, he had the Indian snake charmer’s boa wrapped around him; there are all sorts of thing we could say — but we’ll keep schtum.
I interviewed Luke Roberts tonight, he’s a cool guy and can perhaps lay claim to being the best team pursuit rider, ever.
He has National, junior Worlds, senior Worlds, Commonwealth and Olympic team pursuit titles to his credit; not to mention two Worlds silvers in the individual pursuit.
We’ll get that on Pez, once I have time to write it up.
I did a telephone interview too, with Tom Faiers — never heard of him?
He’s British, 22 and just signed Pro Tour for Footon-Servetto, he’s never raced in the UK; he was a tri-athlete who went on a Baxter tour, liked Spain, stayed there, stuck with it and now he’s on the ladder — respect!
We’ll get that up too, one of these days!
On the subject of interviews, I’m provisionally booked to talk to Iljo Keisse, tonight — wish me luck.
Iljo’s looking good, but our young Swiss out-kicked him in a photo finish to win the devil tonight — nice one, Tristan!
There was a football match on next door — the stadium looks amazing in the dark; not as nice as Starks Park, you understand, though.
The racing was good, but the differences are beginning to show; despite having a little cold, Franco is rampant, meanwhile the French guys get more and more tired.
Bikes-wise, frame material is pretty evenly split between aluminium and carbon — for me, one of the best looking machines here is Gianni Meersman’s Lapierre, under stated but elegant.
And for a small rider, he manages to get the proportions nice.
Meersman was the ‘next big thing’ in Belgium for a while; he was signed by Disco, but maybe too much, too soon?
He’s looking the part here, but will maybe find it tough at Gent where it’s “warp factor five” from the off.
Folks ask me why Bruno Risi isn’t here — the answer is simple.
Bruno has never ridden in Grenoble in the past, due to the clash with Dortmund; a lot of the riders have said in the past; ‘I wouldn’t ride Grenoble, it’s not a real six!’
But with the demise of the German six, they have been queuing up to ride here; however, the man behind the six — Lamborghini driving Guy Chanal – is of the attitude that; ‘if my six wasn’t good enough for you before, get lost!’
Reigning world champions, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov have won the last two editions of Grenoble, but went for the bigger pay day at Dortmund, this year.
When the bottom dropped out of the northern race, they approached Grenoble, but like Eddie Cochrane says; “no dice, son!”
No rider is bigger than the race, here.
I’m finishing this piece off in the cabin on Sunday aftenoon, Erik is bored and playing with my camera; Franco needs a toastie — better go, au revoir!