Thursday, January 27, 2022
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2012 - Stage 18: Blagnac - Brive-la-Gaillarde, 215...

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 18: Blagnac – Brive-la-Gaillarde, 215 km.

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It’s a new hotel chain today on the Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 18; Premiere Classe – we had a bit of a battle to get in.

To keep the costs down, they only man these places in the morning and early evening – during the day you have to punch codes in to gain access.

We started with credit card information, then the reservation number – no dice. Eventually we stuck Martin’s name in – et voila!

The room is of usual prison cell proportions but there’s a shower pod in the corner and it’s clean.

The wi-fi is ok but not powerful enough to stream music consistently – you can’t have it all.

Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 18
Sky rock up to the ‘Parking Equipes’.

We worked the start this morning, on a tight agenda – it has to be that way, sometimes.

The agenda was the bikes of Bradley Wiggins and Tommy Voeckler.

Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 18
Like almost every other rider on the race, Brad runs an SRM on his rig. But he’s got a yellow one now.
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 18
The ovalised rings on Bradley’s Dogma. He wouldn’t have them on if they didn’t make a difference.
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 18
Tommy’s bike has gone all spotty. Understandable as we’re now taking pictures of it, but classy?

We were in the bus park early and met our amigo Jean-Michel Monin; he’s a key man, the one who dishes out ‘le stickers’ for journos to follow riders in the time trial.

He’s a full time employee of ASO and helps plan the Tour route when he’s not organising where the buses should park; ‘chaos if I’m not here!’ or marshalling the shoals of motorbikes amongst the riders out on the road.

What we didn’t realise until today, is that Jean-Michel was a member of the winning French team pursuit squad at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; along with Christophe Capelle, Philippe Ermenault and Francis Moureau.

Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 18
Jean-Michel is second right, with Christophe Capelle, Philippe Ermenault and Francis Moreau. Photo©Vandystadt.

He’s a ‘Weegens fan’ because he knows how hard it is to go from the track to the road – he rode pro for Aubervillies 93 and Big Mat-Auber, but was ‘just a little rider.’

He’s a cool guy, tall, powerfully built, tanned and full of good chat – he scores a 10/10 on the VV ratings.