Tag Archive for ‘Le Tour de France 2010’
The strangest stage of the whole race from the point of view of the staff is the finale into Paris. Our team base is in northern Spain, and so all non-essential equipment went from Bordeaux back to Spain (rather than go to Spain from Bordeaux via Paris-a 1200km detour). Thus we were truckless (or untrucked?) for the only time in the race.
This morning at 07:00 we had Serge Gainsbourg with ‘sea, sex and sun,’ it’s noon now and we’ve got Jane Birkin, ’69, annee erotique.’
Do these people never give it a rest ?
We’re nearly at the stage start, Dave has done the biz all the way up from Bordeaux.
Time trials are always difficult days at races.
Firstly, the riders line up knowing their final position in the race depends on their forthcoming hour of solo work, and secondly, the logistics for the staff are super complex…
Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 19: Bordeaux – Pauillac 52km ITT; Schleck Surprises, But It’s Bert (0)
“Sea, sex and sun,” sings Serge Gainsbourg on Radio Nostalgi – all very well, but the boys have 640 K to drive, this Sunday morning.
But that’s today, let’s get back to Saturday . . .
Today’s chrono is 52 kilometres, but Saturday’s L’Equipe glossy magazine takes us back 30 years to a much shorter effort against the watch – the Olympic one kilometre championship in ‘Moscou.’
The Final Efforts. We’re on the downhill slope for this race now, and the fatigue is starting to show. It’s getting tougher and tougher to chisel our heads off the pillow each morning, and the coffees are having smaller and smaller effects.
Sunglasses stay on when inside as they’re keeping our eyeballs from falling out.
I guess the riders are tired too.
Cav: he really is impressive – we were at five K to go when Oss passed on his death or glory bid out of the break; he was flying.
The bunch? Like some high speed linear motored Japanese train – whhoooooooossssshhhhh! Those carbon rims slice the air.
We dashed back in to the chipper to watch the finale on the tele, respect to Sky, they were in the race – but Cav really is a cut above.
The Next Level. Today was the showdown. As all who watch cycling know, any stage with a mountaintop finish is where many of the overall selections happen, and when the mountain is the Tourmalet, which is enormous both in terms of the difficulty of the climb, as well as its history, it’s all the more definitive.
Thus we all held the hope that Ryder would be able to continue his brilliant run of form, but knew that as it was such a hard climb, anything could happen.
‘Andy talks tough !’ say the headlines, he did try his best yesterday, his men used whatever was left to drive up the lower part of the Tourmalet – then he went for it.
However, not for one moment did it look like Alberto Contador was under pressure.
‘How’s it goin’ Shane?’ we ask Skyman Shane Sutton as we cross the car park in search of Michael Barry for a rest day interview.
‘Been better, mate!’ he fires back between hard draws on his fag – it’s difficult for a man who wears his heart on his sleeve to ‘spin.’
Inside, Michael Barry, who’s an eloquent, polite, sound guy tells us that morale is good – he best get out and tell Shane that, then.
Today was a good day, we took in all five cols of the stage – it only adds to your respect for the pros when you see what they have to deal with.
The gruppo was travelling at funereal speed, 30 minutes down when it passed us near the top of the Aubisque.
Cav was surrounded by ‘minders’ near the back whilst Ale Jet was just off the back, but he looked OK, probably just back at the car.
How far to go. Stage 16 was the biggest climbing stage of the Tour, but the last climb was some 60km from the finish, which made for a weird looking profile for the day. The boys scaled four enormous mountains, the first beginning from km 0. Tough gig.
After fireworks from big name riders lit the early miles up the climb, a pseudo break settled down about 25sec ahead of the peloton, and it held some very big names.
Voeckler, you have to admire him, he’s a racer.
Whatever happens, it’s been a good Tour for Bbox, Charteau in polka dots for a good stretch and now Tommy takes a big one.
Going down to Pro Continental doesn’t seem to have affected them one bit – and it’s saved them a fortune.
It was a tad mad up on the Port de Bales today but great to be there – Monday afternoon, high in the Pyrenees under a clear blue sky with the world’s best cyclists just inches away.
Lourdes is a strange place, like a religiously themed Blackpool; only it’s not little replicas of the tower they’re selling, rather all manner of tat plastered with religious images.
The last time I was there was with Martin, we sat, stunned in a late night pizza place – yellow jerseyed Rasmussen had just been sent home from le Tour by Rabobank.
I’m hoping for no scandals this time.
Bonjour! Vino – he’s a boy.
Born 16:09:1973 in Petropavlosk, he was a stagiere with Casino in 1997; he won the Dunkirk Four Day in his first full season and finished that year with six wins – an impressive debut.
He left Casino at the end of ’99 with another seven wins under his belt to go to Telekom where he stayed until 2005 after notching wins that year in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and two Tour stages. He went south in 2006 to Liberty Seguros and a win in the Vuelta.
R&R For Some. After a single day of respite from the searing heat of the majority of this race, we were back into a bright sunny day with high temperatures. This meant the support crew were back up the road helping our boys as best we were able on the big climbs.
When standing and helping (and watching) on the mountains there are two groups we tend to pay closest attention to: the leaders and the grupetto.