Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeBlogsEx-Garmin Physio Toby Watson's BlogThe Finale: Stage 20 (bunchie) Very Tardy!

The Finale: Stage 20 (bunchie) Very Tardy!

-

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. Very Tardy.

Very Tardy
Bert wins his third.

Atop this, the staff were spread through three different cities. We had a skeleton crew with the boys in Bordeaux, a basic race crew stayed halfway between Bordeaux and the final start town in Blois (I love saying that word out loud — I think I only narrowly avoided being murdered by some team mates who were less happy with me saying it at every opportunity), and the rest of us stayed in Paris: a very odd deal.

The day itself was quite hectic finding all of the families and partners of the riders and staff and getting them to the team area to watch the race from inside the fence. The problem is partially due to the number of people involved, but mainly that there are kajillions of fans around, and all of the race roads are closed.

We were finding needles in a haystack that was sitting in a labyrinth: thank goodness for mobile phones and Garmins! We did eventually bring everyone to where they needed to be (including an “inadvertent” lap of the Champs Elysee behind the promo caravan) and settled in to enjoy the show.

Being constantly in contact with the race, we get a little blasé about the travelling circus that is our workplace, so it is good to be reminded of how cool the scene we work in is by the reactions of the outsiders.

As the boys finally arrived on the Champs, we all found our spots to watch the final act, which had Julian Dean again in a prime position, bopping out a 3rd place. This was his fourth top 3 finish of the race, a consistently brilliant month-long performance. Couple this with Ryder taking out 7th overall, and we couldn’t be happier with our results, particularly considering the setbacks we suffered early in the race.

The post-race ritual begins similarly to every other stage, and yet finishes completely differently. The mad rush for the hotel is normal, but instead of kit off for massage and then tracksiuts and head down for some hearty food, it’s dress up fancily to enjoy a fantastic team dinner overlooking the Eiffel Tower, followed by a mini gig by the band N.E.R.D. in a swanky club in Paris. A top way to cap off a great Tour.

Well done to the lads, and the crew, for getting the job done with such panache.

Toby Watsonhttps://www.veloveritas.co.uk
Ex-Garmin Transitions physiotherapist and soigneur Toby Watson brings you inside the squad, and shows you what it's like to be working with a top team on the biggest races in the world. Through his regular blog updates, Toby shares his sense of drama and fun that were essential parts of his job. Toby is Australian, and currently lives in Girona with his fiancee Amanda. If he has any time, he enjoys reading and running, and occasionally skiing too, when he can.

Related Articles

Le Tour of France 2017 – Stage 10: Périgueux – Bergerac, 178km. Kittel makes his fourth look easy

VeloVeritas’ first Tour stage start of the year; Stage 10, Périgueux to Bergerac through the lovely Dordogne Valley countryside. But not before all them words were written and pictures edited, placed and posted from the VeloVeritas bedoffice. Périgueux wasn’t the busiest stage start we’ve ever witnessed but we’re not complaining; we were in among the buses and riders in jig time...

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 9: Saint-Girons > Bagnères-de-Bigorre, 165km. Dan Martin, file under ‘Big’

This season, Dan Martin has dispelled any doubts about whether he was ‘doing a Danielson’ and being a ‘coming man’ for year after year – Catalunya, la Doyenne and now a Tour stage mean that we can file British Cycling’s biggest ‘one that got away’ firmly under ‘Big.’

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 21; Sèvres – Paris Champs-Élysées

When we spoke to Cav's personal soigneur, Aldis half way through the stage we knew it wasn't to be; 'And Mark, today ?' Aldis screwed up his face; 'he's a little sick...' So 4:1 to Greipel - and the rumours about Cav having to learn to understand Brian Smith's accent at MTN get ever stronger. We changed our system and didn't drive race route for the last stage; instead we drove straight to the digs, got organised, had a shower and headed off across a wet Paris to the finish circuit.

Into The Bumps: Eneco 2010 Stage 3

Into The Bumps. Stage 3 saw the profile go from pancake flat to very lumpy. It was bound to be a day where things were shaken up somewhat on the over all standings, but Canadian hardman/topbloke Svein Tuft is a quality athlete, so we were quite excited about still being in the mix.

A Hard “Easy” Day: TdF Stage 10 (breakaway)

A Hard "Easy" Day. Yesterday was always going to be the day that the breakaway succeeded. The profile of the course and the stages on the days either side of it meant that neither the GC nor the sprinter teams would be interested. It wasn’t hard enough to separate the GC lads, but wasn’t easy enough for the sprinters to make it to the finish with the main bunch.

Jérémy Roy – Looking Forward to the Show

Last July, Jérémy Roy (FDJ) was becoming well known to followers of the Tour de France, his attacking style gathering him lots of attention and admiration in this, his fourth participation, despite the big win in the biggest race eluding him thus far. In his ninth year as a Pro, but not a regular winner, Jérémy was one of the heroes of Friday's Stage 12 from Cugneaux to Luz Ardiden, having been in the break of six riders which escaped soon after the start and remained in front most of the day.

At Random

The VeloVeritas Years – 2007: Stuart O’Grady Tops Career with Paris-Roubaix

A decade?  Surely not? But it was 2007 when we met up with Dave Chapman in London and VeloVeritas headed for the ferry to the 'Hell of the North.' Most of the names we mention have gone from the peloton - Flecha, Boonen, Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Backstedt - but Pippo just keeps going, looking little different from how he did on the sunny Sunday, 10 years ago. Have a wee wander down memory lane with us we continue our 'Best of VeloVeritas' Years in The Saddle.'

Wayne Bennington – Looking back at his Pro Teams; System-U and ‘Z’

With all the recent exposure Philippa York has had we recently came upon a mention of a man who trained and raced with York in his days as Robert Millar. Wayne Bennington is the man; he rode for Systeme-U and ‘Z’ – both big players in the day who didn’t dispense contracts to just ‘any’ rider. We spoke to Wayne a year or two ago but this piece has never before run on Velo Veritas, here’s his story.

Gent Six Day 2012 – Sunday Finale

The final day of the Gent Six Day 2012 promised a big tussle between the Belgian World Madison Champions De Ketele / Van Hoecke and local hero Iljo Keisse with Glenn O’Shea. They didn’t disappoint.

Chris Hoy – Performances and Plans

We've been stalking him since Beijing; and at last, we've cracked him - Chris Hoy, Olympic gold medallist in the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint. We've heard that he now retains Max Clifford, "PR guru to the stars," as his agent, so we decided we'd better check out the financial aspect of the interview, first.

Introducing our New Blogger: Tomás Swift-Metcalfe

Hi, my name is Tomás Swift-Metcalfe. Tomás is Portuguese, the Swift element is Irish, and Metcalfe is English. I'm a "Euro-mongrel", but I'm very much at home in Portugal.

La Vuelta a España goes to Burgos, Castile y León

On Friday La Vuelta a Espana arrives in Burgos, Castile y León, having travelled from Rincón de Soto, famous as the pear capital of La Rioja. The riders will have endured almost 200km of undulating terrain, and conquered the Pradilla and Valmala passes towards the end of the stage on the way. Bunch sprint? We wouldn't bet on it.