Sunday, June 20, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France - Day 9: Stage 21, Etampes to Paris

Le Tour de France – Day 9: Stage 21, Etampes to Paris

-

Salle de Presse, Meridien Hotel, Paris, 18.55 Sunday July 27th. We were in Etampes and we just watched Steegmans demonstrate how to sprint, he’s a much better sprinter than he is a time triallist.

Sastre won his, and CSC’s first Grand Tour without drama, there was the usual show boating — ‘Carlos with glass of champagne’, it says here on this script – and French riders grabbing TV time, so the sponsor’s VIP’s could enjoy their champagne more.

For me, it’s been another day of great experiences. By choice, I always like to write about racing or racing cyclists. Ideally I would have liked us to have walked the circuit, doing interviews as we went and counting down the laps in a ‘real time’ as the race flashed past. But Pez pays the bills and he wanted me to go with the Festina motor on the Publicity Caravan.

Etampes
Ed and a coo.

I’m glad I did, if you drive a stage, you cannot help but be affected by the joy, enthusiasm and just sheer ‘good to be alivedness’ of it all.

We spent the night in Orleans, an Ibis Hotel — it was first class and not dear at around 60-odd euros including an excellent breakfast.

There was an Arab run café next door and we had frites and pizza at about 11.00 pm — it looked a bit rough, but the boys were sound and the grub was great.

Etampes
We travelled to Paris in the publicity caravan today!

Martin rattled the Volvo up the road this morning and we were at the start in Etampes in no time.

Pascal Orsini was the man to talk to, quietly though; he’d been partying the night before and needed shades to protect his eyes from the Sunday morning sunlight.

The caravan is amazing, some of the set ups are just so ingenuous and inventive. Vittel have a set up with four or five racing bikes bolted on to motorbike side car beds, so as it looks like the guys are riding the bikes alongside the motorbike.

The bikes have big Derny style seats to stop the ‘riders’ backside getting too sore; they ‘ride’ the full stages, including the mountains.

They have a lovely 60’s sports car as a team car and a police car, they get up to all sorts of nonsense before and during the stage, the guys must be actors, maybe mime artists, because they are so quick witted and clever at what they do.

Etampes
Ed mucks around with a fake cop… not for the first time!

One of them ‘arrested’ me this morning, (his cuffing technique was much lighter than the real thing, though) and then he and I were on the kiddies motor cycle in the supermarket — nonsense, but it makes for good photos for the sites.

Etampes
Ed gets “arrested”.

Poor Martin drew the short straw again, I got the ride in the Festina van and he had to drive the car to Paris.

After the finish, I grabbed the Metro up here to the Hotel Meridien to meet up with him, which is four kilometres from the finish and quite plush. It’s where most of the teams stay tonight, and as we leave the press room there’s a lot of riders, showered and in their ‘clubbing gear’ with their wives and girlfriends in the lobby.

We walk past Dave Millar, looking about seven feet tall in his black shirt and troos and fresh-as-a-daisy, almost as if he hadn’t touched his bike today let alone ridden the biggest race in the world.

I think ‘I’m ‘written out’ for the day, so I’ll say ‘ciao’.

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

Grenoble Six Day 2010, Night Three – Only Here

"Only in Grenoble" is stamped in red on this file - a track standstill competition. If Vik was here at the Grenoble Six Day 2010 he'd rush the track shouting bad things about la Belle France, the French, and their ways.

Copenhagen Six Day 2012 – Day One

The gun fires, the bongos rattle, 'Cara Mia' blasts, the rattle of chains and rumble of rubber on wood builds and the chase which kicks off the 50th Six Days of Copenhagen is up and running. But it's not any old chase, since I first walked up the steps from the tunnel when we arrived here on Wednesday afternoon the lap board has been displaying a short but grim message-400.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Three, Queens Park Circuit Race

The trouble with getting up before 06:00 and not getting to bed 'til 01:45 is that by the time the next day - that's today, comes around, it seems like last year. And today is the circuit race at Queens Park.

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2016 Goes To Stuyven

The Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne adventure began when I met Craig Grieve, Spokes bike shop owner and U23 race team backer, early Friday morning, to get a picture of the newly-logoed team car. For Craig, the journey to Kuurne is a long haul; catching a ferry from Hull, arriving Saturday in time for the riders to recce part of the course. We caught up with them on Saturday night in Kortrijk for a pizza and to hear how their preparation has gone and to plan for the race.

The Girvan 2007 – Day 2, Stage 3

Sunday stage on the The Girvan 2007 started at 12.01am in the Roxy, Girvan's answer to Stringfellows. We drank cocktails, there was Bobby Darrin on the sound system, and the talk with the Prada-clad lovelies was of moving to Saint Tropez for the Spring.The scent of Chanel filled the air. Na - you know what it was really like; but we only had three beers, so there are no war stories.

Berlin Six Day 2012 – Day Five and Berlin Six Day Bikes

It’s gone 1:00AM here and I thought we could have a look at the Berlin Six Day Bikes; the Dernys buzz their 'Ipcress' noise, Brad eases down off the fence, he takes the sling off Jackie, tucks in behind the little monster and Mr. Simes is done for the night.