Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2007 - Day 9: Stage 19, Cognac -...

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 9: Stage 19, Cognac – Angoulême

-

We’re in Angoulême and I forgot to say last night, for the first time in this Tour, I got a prediction right. I chose Casar out of the four man break, you could see it in his eyes, he wanted it more than any of the others.

There’s a great picture of him on the front cover of L’Equipe today – it’s all there in his face, determination and pride; “maybe the other French guys can’t win a stage, but I sure as hell can!”

Angoulême
The superb market where we bought our picnic lunch for later. Photo©Ed Hood

Cafè au lait (have you noticed that Martin has shown me how to get accents above the letters now?) and a Cognac, nine euros!?! “Eef you cannot steeff les touristes, then oo’ can you steeff, hien?” Still, it was a good coffee, a grande measure of cognac and the toilets were free of Lasa Fever.

Angoulême
This is a lovely part of the world. Photo©Martin Williamson

We’ve just passed the stage finish, but we have to go to the start to get on the course, there’s absolutely no danger of getting on to it from a side road, even with creds.

Angoulême
There’s an extra range of stickers and creds you need if you want to follow a rider in the Time Trial. Photo©Martin Williamson

It’s nice country here, flat with unfenced fields of sun flowers and grape vines stretching away from the road to the horizon.

Angoulême
Egoi Martinez doesn’t look too worried about the time trial ahead. Photo©Ed Hood

Finding the start was a doddle today, and even getting the crucial yellow sticker, which you need to follow a rider in a test, wasn’t too bad.

Angoulême
Big wide roads for Charly and us. Photo©Ed Hood

We had a great day, following Charly was cool, even though he’s no specialist you can’t fail to be impressed by the bike handling and speed.

I said to Martin that as you get older, you get better at recognising the times of your life when you are having them, and not after the fact.

Following Charly today, through the beautiful vineyards of Cognac with huge, screaming crowds at the top of the drags – an experience I’ll never forget.

Angoulême
Dave Millar warms up before his test. Photo©Ed Hood

Like I said, in some places the crowds were huge, but not consistently-so, and I can’t help but feel that maybe all the scandal is biting, as far as road-side presence goes.

Angoulême
Davide de la Fuente giving it ‘laldy’. Photo©Martin Williamson

We shared wine and cheese with some nice local folks, it was great; when it was time to go there were hand-shakes all-round.

It sounds corny, but you meet the best folks roadside at le Tour.

Angoulême
KoM Mauricio Soller is no tester, but looks great all the same. Photo©Martin Williamson

The time checks we took were showing that there was a real battle going-on, it was unlikely that Leipheimer or Cabel could win, but the fact that 31 seconds now cover the top three speaks for itself.

Angoulême
After following Charly, we stop and have our picnic. Photo©some random bloke

We were standing at 10K to go and there was a good buzz there, but the radio commentary wasn’t the usual frenzy, rather matter of fact it was.

The press room is never exactly friendly and it’s uncool to get excited about the racing, but it was even ‘flatter’ and more subdued than usual.

Angoulême
A puncure for a QuickStep rider right in front of us -the wheel change took 20 seconds! Photo©Martin Williamson

I’m not daft on the press room, it’s bad for my kharma, I’m so full of enthusiasm for the racing and I feel it drain out of me when I walk in the place – or maybe it’s just me.

Contador’s press conference took place next door and he had no-sooner sat down, than the Puerto questions started. I don’t know what his involvement was with Fuentes, but if you ask the same questions today as you did yesterday and the day before, you’ll get the same answers.

Especially given that I know he speaks at least a little English, but he’ll only take questions in Spanish. This means he’s hearing most questions twice, before he answers them.

He also seems quite a thick-skinned wee cookie, he sits there impassively as the Puerto this, that and the other questions come at him. If he was involved, shouldn’t the UCI have acted?

It’s now 23.41 and we’re nearly in Paris, I even took a wee shot of driving. I’m going to go on the internet and see if I can get details of the French driving test.

I’m particuarly interested in learning to tail-gate correctly and also the new arrangement of manouvere, signal and what’s a mirror?

To get points on your licence in France, you would have to fire an RPG out the back window at a squad car.

Anyway, a good day, but I’ll be glad to see a pillow. Last day tomorrow – Boonen?

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2009 – One Day To Go…

Day two in Monaco, and the excitement is starting to grow, even if some of the residents are trying too hard not to let on that they're thrilled to have the Tour de France 2009 kicking off here.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 17: Embrun > Chorges, 32km ITT. Froome From Bert

Chorges...this must be the place; Andrei Greipel’s pedalling back to his hotel, the road’s blocked with cars, buses and civilians. Yes, it’s the finish of the 32 kilometre mountain time trial – trouble is that we want to be at the start and the satnav is routing us through the finish area.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 12; Montpellier – Mont Ventoux. De Gendt Wins Amidst the Chaos

First of all, a fantastic win by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), let’s say that first and foremost. The Belgian was away all day then won the sprint from another two survivors of the big break of the day. As a bonus, he takes the polka dot jersey, too. De Gendt He's tamed the Stelvio and (most of) the Ventoux - he just needs to win on the Angleru now...

Upholstery tacks, Did That Really Happen? (TDF 2012 St14)

Upholstery tacks? Seriously? Clearly my “Ugly Fans” rant was two days too soon. The Tour is such a great spectacle partly because of the amazing numbers of fans lining the road.

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 4: Stage 15, Foix – Loudenvielle Le Louron

The sun is hot even at 07.15, the autoroute is quiet, straight and fast; we're headed for le Tour and Loudenvielle Le Louron; Millie Jackson is telling us that her man is a "fine man" - what more could you want from life? It's 10.00 am now and we're on the descent off the first climb of the day, the second cat, Col de Port or Portet, depending on which sign you look at. Martin got his first look at le Tour village this morning, as always, the scrambled eggs were great and the coffee strong.

Froome and Wiggins (TDF 2012 St 17)

Brad Wiggins and Chris Froome have shown that they are by far the best two riders in the Tour de France, being untouchable on both the mountains as well as on the time trials. Liquigas and Vincenzo Nibali set the race up, giving it everything they could to make the race tough in the hope that the Sky boys would crack, but in the end, that just meant they had less work to do and could do more damage in the finale.

At Random

David Hewett Blog – A Challenging Start to the Season

The beginning of April finally marked the start of my 2017 race season in Belgium, after a long winter’s preparation. An unfortunate issue with the team’s accommodation arrangements for the year meant I had to head home unexpectedly immediately after arriving in Belgium, and this knocked me a bit sideways mentally for a while.

Tour de Trossachs 2010 Preview

Although the start sheet for the Tour de Trossachs is still to be finalised, it's looking to be a very interesting race - the field has been extended to accommodate 140 because the race is proving to be popular with riders of all abilities, and sees National Champions and World Champions taking part, as well as newcomers interested in trying out this classic course. Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) will defend his title for the third time, but the big question is will he manage to beat both the hill climb and course record set by Jason McIntyre in 2007...

John Archibald – Reflecting on his World Championship Pursuit

Here at VeloVeritas whilst we have the utmost respect for John Archibald and his performances we didn’t seek any pre-Worlds interviews from him, his sister Katie, Neah Evans or Mark Stewart. We felt that the ‘they just need to turn up and ride then bring home the rainbow jerseys’ vibe was putting them under pressure – of which they would experience more than enough in the cauldron of Pruszkow. We let the dust settle post-Worlds, gave John a call and found how it went...

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 17: Bagnères-de-Luchon – Peyragudes, 144 km.

I wasn't sure about the 'blip' at La Toussuire when Froome distanced Wiggins in the finale - I thought it was 'mountain out of molehill' stuff. Although we did hear that Wiggins was 'raging', that night in his room. But today, there seemed little doubt that a message was being sent; 'I can drop you any time I want.' The body language and facial expressions around the team aren't relaxed, happy or positive. But there's little doubt now that Brad will win - barring Acts of God.

Dan Patten’s Blog – Getting Back on Track

Dan Patten's Blog - As the season rolls on the races are coming thick and fast. May was always going to be an important month with the Belgium Cup (Beker Van Belgie/Coupe de Belgique) series taking center stage.

Lucho Herrera’s Pinarello

To appreciate how big a deal it was for Luis Alberto (Lucho) Herrera to win the 1987 Vuelta, it's best to read the passage in Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell's book, 'Viva la Vuelta' where they talk about the closing stage into Madrid.