Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 15; Bourg-en-Bresse – Culoz. Pantano Plays it Perfectly
Geneva 18:10 CET, the Europcar desk, there are just two on duty on the counter - correction, one has bolted for his tea and the other is involved in what could be a Brexit negotiation, it's taking that long.
Callum's cool but the kid behind us has kicked off - in Arabic.
The guy behind us, an English sportive rider is getting agitated - he'll never make a journo.
Like Bobby Dylan says; "first thing you learn is that gotta wait ..."
We pick up le Tour tomorrow for stage 16 but we want to get our credentials tonight so we can drive the stage tomorrow.
If we don't get them tonight we'll have to go to the stage finish tomorrow to get them.
In the Giro you can uplift your credentials at the Airstream trailer at the stage start, but not at Le Tour.
However, we've got L'Équipe; and it's unusually - for a French paper - in praise of the English.
We have a list of notable dates involving 'Albion':
But first, the protagonists in one word, courtesy L'Équipe:
- Froome: 'calm'
- Mollena: 'concentrated'
- Quintana: 'impatient'
- Bardet: 'satisfied'
- Porte: 'attentive'
Sounds about right.
- 1937: Charlie Holland and Bill Burl are the first Brits to start the race.
- 1958: Brian Robinson is the first Briton to win a stage.
- 1962: the late, great Tom Simpson become the first Englishman to don the maillot jaune.
- 1974: the Tour visits GB - or rather the Plympton by-pass - for the first time.
- 1984: "premier maillot distinctif pour L'Ecossais Robert Millar - maillot de meilleur grimpeur.
- 2007: Grand Depart in London.
- 2012: Bradley Wiggins wins Le Tour.
- 2016: after 90 minutes, Callum and Ed get their Toyota Yaris.
We're on our way to Culoz, wish us luck.
ASO email to tell us that Jarlinson Pantana has won the stage today for IAM Cycling and Columbia; that's his contract sorted for 2017 - IAM folds at the end of the season.
- Jarlinson Pantano (COL) IAM Cycling 04:24:49
- Rafał Majka (POL) Tinkoff +00:00:00
- Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +00:00:06
We figure out from the radio that the leaders finished 'tout ensemble' - "all together" - don't think we've missed much then?
Froome still leads from Mollema and Yates.
We figured three hours would be enough time to get from the airport - no chance, apparently there's some damn bike race on and the roads are clogged with traffic.
Re-programme the satnav to the digs, ah well - it's not a proper Tour arrival without dramas...
On the bright side, it's a good sound system in the Yaris and Radio Nostalgi is coming in wall to wall, treetop tall, as we used to say back in the CB days.
And now the press releases start to ping in; here's the Tinkoff one:
"It was a day for the climbers today – or more accurately – for Rafal Majka.
"The Polish national road champion exploded the Polka Dot Jersey contest, taking points on every single climb, including the full 25 points on the Hors Catégorie Grand Colombier.
"Just beaten to the stage win, Rafal took the Maillot à Pois and the day’s combativity prize, while Roman Kreuziger held on to 11th spot in the GC with a strong ride where he finished with the Yellow Jersey group."
And Dave texts to tell us there's no change on GC, so we didn't miss so much after all.
Except Tejay losing time - that's a surprise...
It's the 'Cancellara Stage' tomorrow, we'll try harder to bring you some 'proper' reportage.
Campanile tonight and the chance of a restaurant on the premises - nice!