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Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007 – Day 1

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The alarm goes at 03.45, and it’s almost painful. Davie arrives bang-on 04.45 and we’re off to Glasgow in the Peugeot, the roads are a bit slippery and Dave makes things more interesting by driving with dipped head lights all the time; even when there’s nothing coming in the opposite direction. I’m off to the Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007.

My eyes are so good that if it wasn’t for the fact other cars need to see us, I’d drive with no lights.” For sure, Dave — it’s always a relief to jump out of the 405 and still be alive.

Easyjet, why isn’t old Stelios in the Guinness Book of Records for the most folk you can get on an aeroplane? Malaga, my first time in southern Spain, I’ve driven the whole of the northern coast and been to Madrid, Barcelona and Saragossa many times, but never the Costa del Sol.

The Saunier Duval team chose Estepona for their launch and short camp, partly because very hard hills are only 30 minutes away!

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007
Welcome to Estepona.

Now I know what people mean when they say that Spain will be fine when it’s finished; there are building sites everywhere. The road to Estepona is a tad wild; every car in Spain seems to have at least one panel caved-in. This is ex-pat country, every other shop has the word ‘English’ on the sign, and either that or it’s an ‘Irish pub’ — why doesn’t everyone just stay at home?

Yeah, I know, it’s the weather, which really is great — you can drive with the car windows open without any problem. I spot a Saunier guy out on his Scott, he’s not frightened on this road, but spying him makes me comfortable that I’m near my destination so some lunch is in order, just as I’m about to jump out of my stationary Yaris — (great name) an ex-pat in a Jeep drives into me; ‘it was that damn scooter, sorry mate.’ Let’s hope that they have T-cut in Spain.

Lunch was braw though and I tried to put the fact that I hadn’t signed-up for the collision damage waiver to the back of my mind.

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2007
Tomorrow we’ll be out with the team all day.

The Crowne Plaza is a beautiful place, and I got an up-grade to a suite – I’ll need to mention this to Graeme Snowdon for Girvan. Before I had taken my bags out of the car I was skeking the bikes (or ‘girds’ as we call them in Fife).

The new Scott Addict is smart, black carbon with the only alloy on the frame at the bracket to take the cups; the drop-outs, cable stops and the front mech hanger are all in carbon — a seriously light piece of kit.

Saunier are the first Pro Tour team to run the new SRAM groupset, which is very nice.

I interviewed the SRAM guys and took loads of pics of the kit. I’m a Campag man myself but the shift lever is better than Campag and Shimano.

Iban Mayo was cutting about; you have to respect a man who has never wavered in his loyalty to the mullet. When the light started to go retired to my suite (is that pompous?) and got wired-in to my first two pieces, the wi-fi isn’t the best here, but you get used to that.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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