Monday, July 26, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2012 - First Rest Day

Le Tour de France 2012 – First Rest Day

-

Bonjour!   VeloVeritas joins le Tour.

The hotel is the Formule 1, Viry, with a wonderful view of a pile of tyres – it’s a glamorous life.

It’s all glamour!

But we’re not complaining.

Easyjet, Edinburgh to Geneva wasn’t too bad, finding the car hire was a bit of a magical mystery tour but we were soon headed for Mâcon, our credentials and the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank hotel.

French radio seems to be getting worse so we’re fully CD-ed up this year; Bob Marley’s ‘Keep on Moving’ seemed like a good choice to begin with.

We’re into the groove now.

And – we’ve got a satnav.

The TomTom makes life so much simpler – with Brian Blessed’s booming voice taking us straight to the industrial estate where the permanence was.

Picking up your ‘creds’ – accreditation – is rarely straightforward, except on the Vuelta where it’s horizontally laid back.

We had to get our car stickers changed, for some reason they’d allocated us orange stickers which mean you can only take the car on the parcours after the race – not much use, really.

We needed blue – they let you drive the parcours between the advertising caravan and the race.

It didn’t take too much negotiation to sort it out – and soon we had the vital bits of plastic.

Roadbook, Tour goodies – and accreditation!

It’s always a weight off your mind when the car is ‘dressed’ and you have the lanyard around your neck.

Creds, check. Hire car stickered up, check.

Christian Prudhomme was on hand, reporters hanging on his every word – we were more interested in making cheese pieces from the local cheeses and bread.

Christian wanders around the press room and makes himself available for questions.

We tend to avoid the permanence as a rule, due to the ‘I’m too sexy for my job’ crew; but there are always goodies in there – like free copies of l’Équipe.

Wiggins dominates the Tour and the front pages.

What’s interesting in the panel inside which deals with his palmares is that pre-2011 there’s nothing – he did have a few results, but these tended to be time trials in minor French stage races.

His re-birth has been spectacular.

Mâcon is the geographic heart of France and a nice city it is, too – located beside the river Saone with roadside cafes and a Mediterranean vibe.

There’ll be plenty of time for road side cafés for us later in the race – we had a man to meet…

Saxo-Tinkoff was holed up at the Campanile Motel with a very relaxed feeling in the air.

Nick Nuyens was hanging out at a reception – not resting those legs, we noted.

Fritz, one of the team soigneurs – and a man who likes Scotland; and Peebles in particular – tracked down Michael Mørkøv for us.

Michael has come a long, long way from the young track rider in his first six day down in Grenoble where I first met him, what must be seven years ago.

He’s been World Madison Champion, team pursuited at the very highest level, ridden – and animated – most of the major classics, ridden the Giro, and now, the Tour.

And through it all, he’s changed little – except that he’s more confident, slimmer and has the musculature of a panther.

He looks in great condition, really slim, and talks about ‘those skinny climbers’.

You can read the interview with Michael here.

If you’re a journalist, you’re meant to be impartial, but it’s hard for us with Michael, I like the man a lot – for me, he stands for all that’s good about the sport.

Michael is getting used to this!

He’s dedicated, fiercely loyal to his team, a perfectionist when it comes to his appearance and bike – a professional, in other words.

And to make me love him even more, he presented me with one of his signed polka dot jerseys – tears weren’t far away.

Michael gives Ed one of his KOM jerseys, as a thank you for all his support and friendship.

Just to take us back down to earth, as we drove back to our digs in Viry, the email came in that Di Gregorio had been dragged off the race by the gendarmerie.

What we can’t help but observe is, why drag him off the race?  Why not wait until the race is over?

There’s little doubt that there are other interests at play with these doping cases – people trying to make a name for themselves; especially in the Lance case.

But let’s forget drugs, witnesses, courts, attorneys and all the negs.

Fritz and the other Saxo team staff prepare their traditional Rest Day BBQ.

The Tour de France is in full flow, a British rider leads, today we head for the high mountains and VeloVeritas is here to do our best to transport you to La Belle France and le Tour in July – there’s not too much to complain about.

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 2017 – Stage 2: Düsseldorf – Liège, 205.5km. Big Marcel is the Quickest

From Düsseldorf Big Marcel – not forgetting his Barnet – was the ‘schnelest.’ Not that hard to predict; it’s Belgium so it must be QuickStep - it would have been better if it was Flanders and not Wallonia but I’m being churlish. Patrick Lefevre struggling to find a sponsor? Unlikely when his boys ride like this – who wouldn’t want to be associated with this squad?

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 19; Albertville – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. Bardet Saves the Tour for France

We chose the wrong mountain - but little did we know there'd be a big rain storm on the last climb to give the race the jolt it's been requiring for three weeks. A great day for Bardet and AG2R. A good day for Quintana, Mentjies and Martin. A bad day for Mollema, Yates, Dumoulin, Rolland and Navarro - the latter three all crash victims. And Froome and Porte have had better days. . .

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...

Solid Kick-off

Solid Kick-off. Finally we’re underway! And what a start it’s been. Time trial days are always long periods of surprising quietness (and the quiet is always a surprise) punctuated by flurries of furious activity. As team mechanic-cum-philosopher Kris Withington (NZ’s finest mechanic) says, “it’s either full gas work or full gas wait.”

Toby Watson Blog: Rest Day 1 (TDF 2012)

Toby Watson Blog - After the first rest day, this is a good time to look at where the race may go in the coming week. Cadel and Nibali need to find two minutes on Wiggo just to catch up, and they are staring at another, longer time trial later in the race, so effectively need at least three.

Scottish Riders in Le Tour de France

With le Grande Boucle set to depart on Saturday June 26th from Brittany – which shares Celtic culture with Scotland - we thought we should have a look at the Scottish riders who have participated in the biggest race on the planet, over the years.

At Random

The Next Level: TdF2010 Stage 17 (mountaintop)

The Next Level. Today, TdF2010 Stage 17, 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.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 15; Valdengo – Montecampione, 217 km. Fabio Aru Shines Through

I first heard of Fabio Aru (Astana & Italy) when he won the 2011 Giro della Val d’Aosta U23 stage race in Italy from US rider Joe Dombrowski – who’s now professional with Sky. Aosta along with the Tour de l’Avenir and the U23 Worlds are the big shop windows for the professional talent scouts. Aru had been fourth in Aosta the year previous and would win it again in 2012.

Omnisport International meets Amanda Spratt

When Belgium's biggest fan of Aussie bike racing, Mr. Dirk Van Hove asked us to publish his interview with Australian ladies' champion Amanda Spratt there was no way we could refuse. He's chaperoned us around Het Nieuwsblad given us some of our best Aussie contacts and most importantly, introduced us to 'Orvelo' beer - and a fine brew it is.

World Road Championships 2012 – Day Three; U23 Time Trial World Championship

The party’s over at the U23 Time Trial World Championship, there’s no more nice wee room in Valkenburg and ambling down for breakfast, with the patron asking if you’d like a fried egg to go with your rolls, cheese and ham.

Michael Broadwith – Breaking the Lands End to John O’Groats Record at 19.438mph!

VeloVeritas has spoken to Michael Broadwith in the past, when he won the national 24 hour championship in 2015 with a monstrous 537 miles. This time the distance was even more extreme: 844 miles, the distance between Lands End and John O’Groats, which he covered at an average speed of 19.438 mph. I try to be sparing with the superlatives but that is truly an amazing performance. Michael kindly gave of his time to us just a few days after his gargantuan ride.

Track World Championships 2010 – or Training Session?

The women's 500 metre time trial was the first race I caught sight of on the TV - it's hard to get excited about it. But the Ballerup track was looking great, freshly sanded and with new advertising - what you don't realise until you look at the down tube of a bike that has just finished in a Derny race is the amount of soot and oil that the little motorbikes pump out - the joiners have buffed all that off, though.