Sunday, November 28, 2021
HomeInterviewsCallum MacGregor - First Time Working on the Tour de France 2015

Callum MacGregor – First Time Working on the Tour de France 2015


With Dave and Martin on family holidays it was down to Callum MacGregor to step in and put up with me for the annual mad whirl around France.

As an experienced racer and long-time cycling fan – but a first timer working on the race – I thought it would be good to get his impressions of Le Grande Boucle.

And there’s time to spare on the long haul from L’Alpe d’Huez, north to Paris too…

Callum MacGregor
Callum grabs lunch on the kerbside. Photo©Ed Hood


“The huge commercial aspect to the race – and the logistics. Taking down and putting up barriers, grand stands, the Tour Village, collecting the rubbish …

“And the caravan; all those vehicles which have to be dismantled at night, put on a low loader, taken to the next start town then put together again. Then there’s the hotels; not just riders and officials but all those folks on the caravan … it’s huge.

“I’m surprised by how skinny the riders are in the flesh too – Froome and Bardet in particular look like they wouldn’t have the strength to lift a pint of beer.

“It’s an assault on the senses; mad driving, mad fans, fast racing … the riders are like gladiators at the centre of it all, those guys knocking ten bells out of each other day after day!

“There’s no ‘Patron‘ now – just the radio from the team car telling you to get to the front in the neutralised zone!”

Best bit?

“L’Alpe d’Huez; the ability of the riders to ride up there so fast through all that madness – it’s hard to take in how quick Quintana and Hesjedal were going up through that crowd.”

Callum MacGregor
Mad crowds on the Alpe at Turn 7- Dutch Corner. Photo©Ed Hood

Worst bit?

“Nothing really; but getting off L’Alpe d’Huez behind Leon Van Bon and then the police motorbikes at high speed was nerve-shredding – I could never imagine the police in the UK sanctioning such a thing.”

Is L’Alpe appropriate?

“As long as it stays friendly – Tommy Voeckler was getting heckled yesterday but it wasn’t vindictive, more tongue in cheek than anything else.

“But if it got any more mental then riders would get stopped and ASO would have to do something.”

Which teams presentation impressed most?

“Movistar and Sky but I was surprised by how professional the MTN set up was, not so far behind the World Tour teams.”

Which riders impressed?

“Valverde – he’s there from the spring to the autumn and isn’t intimidated by anyone.

“Sagan too. For all his superstardom he’s still just a young guy enjoying his racing and having fun.

“Steve Cummings – no one was going to stop him getting that win at Mende last weekend.

“Froome’s revving style seems to get more unpleasant to look at each year but the man wants to race …

“It’s sad to see Chava and Tommy V on the way out – but they’ve had their time…”

Callum MacGregor
Steve Cummings (r) had a wonderful Tour with a Stage win.

What about the big mountains?

“Even driving a stage I don’t think you get a true impression of how hard they are – and it’s not just the climbs, the descents are so technical and some stretches are just so fast, like the drop off the Croix de Fer.”

What about bikes?

“The Colnagos of the Europcar team are nice – and the MTN Cervélos.

“I’m not daft on the Katusha paint jobs, I have to say – but the Movistar Canyons are lovely.”

Did you enjoy our moules day?

“Yeah, it was a good day; very friendly and nice to see Patrick Lefevre cutting about there in his panama hat looking cool – but definitely still in charge.”

Callum MacGregor
Callum at the hospitality on the Rest Day. Photo©Ed Hood

French driving?

“I’m impressed by the fact that they always pull back over to the inside lane after they’ve overtaken.

“But everyone seems to want to drive flat out, bumper to bumper, all the time.”

What are you going to do with all the hats and bottles you’ve collected?

“Ebay them!”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 11: Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel, 33km ITT. Tony Martin Takes It

Tony Martin was impressive, so was Chris Froome – Cadel Evans, Pierre Rolland, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and a whole host of others, weren’t. Bonjour, from the Balladins Motel, ville de Tours, from Martin and Ed!

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 3; Cambridge – London, 159 km. Kittel’s Second

Two riders away all day from kilometre zero, they get caught with six K to go, Giant dominates the finale, Kittel wins. And that was that – but ah, yes, it did rain for the finish. I guess the boys deserve a bit of R & R after yesterday’s mini-Ardennes death race - but a two man break holding the 194 man peloton off until they could almost hear the finish flag flapping? But as they say in the USA; ‘KUDOS’ to Bideau and Barta showing those Pro Tour wheels suckers how it’s done.

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 1: Stage 12, Montpellier – Castres

Bonjour! It's that time - there's only one game in town and it's called, 'Le Tour'. Ken Livingston's ego trip and the stages Viktor calls; "watchin' paint dry!" are behind us, so are the Alps. Tomorrow it's the first time trial then it's the Pyrennes; sprinter and transition stages; the final tt and Paris. God-willing, we'll be there all the way. We arrived at Perpignan around 6.00, local time, it's nearly 9.00 now and we've still got our accreditation to collect at Castres. Wheels for the trip, is a Renault Clio, the air-con and stereo and iPod work, that's all you need really.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 7: Troyes – Nuits-Saint-Georges, 213.5km. Kittel takes his third

Six millimetres; that’s less than quarter of an inch – the difference between reading headlines ‘Eddy avenges Cav’ rather than ‘Kittel takes his third’... But it’s been Kittel’s week; and when a sprinter’s head is right – as Kittel’s obviously is – even Lady Luck is carried along with them. The big German has more than justified whatever Patrick Lefevre is paying him at QuickStep; three stage wins in the Tour is something most sponsors would give their eye teeth for.

Ugly Fan Rant

Ugly Fan Rant. I was reading the GreenEdge site this morning and saw that Whitey made mention of Australian fans abusing Richie Porte & Mick Rogers for the “sin” of riding “against” Cadel. These people are idiots. If Australian football was ever blessed with two players who were talented enough to be starters for Chelsea and Manchester United, would one be considered un-Australian (whatever that means) because he was playing against the other?

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 15: Laissac-Sévérac l’Église – Le Puy-en-Velay, 189.5km. Mollema in the mountains

Sunday, Stage 15 and VeloVeritas’s last shift on Tour - so we headed for the biggest hill we could find to remind ourselves how special and beautiful France and this race really are. Today we’re in the heartland, perhaps not deepest agricultural ‘France Profonde;’ the rural, simple, beautiful heart of the nation, not with the gorges and cols - but it’s quiet, lovely and some of the simple, striking images surprise as you drive the parcours.

At Random

The VV View: The UCI is Always Right?

The UCI is Always Right? Not for the first time, I’m confused by the actions of our sport’s governing body. First, let me quote what World Track Championship scratch and madison animator Andreas Müller told me the other day regarding rulings by the commissairs in Melbourne...

Memories of Jason MacIntyre

It's a year since Jason MacIntyre died; just like I can remember where I was when JFK was shot, I can remember receiving the call from James McCallum as I drove through Cramond. Jason was a special rider, I loved to watch him in a time trial; to me he was poetry in motion.

One More Sleep! time for the TdF 2010 to Start

One More Sleep! time for the TdF 2010 to Start. We are at the end of Day -1, which is the point where the whole team just want things to start already. Admittedly I’ve been in that mood since Tuesday afternoon when I headed out from the team Service Course in Girona. Now everyone else has joined me in night-before-Christmas-as-a-seven-year-old land.

Martin Lonie – Double Masters British Champion

Two British Veterans’ Championships - and recently the Scottish Criterium championship too - this year? Best ‘have a word’ with that man Martin Lonie...

Stephen Williamson takes the Scottish 100 Mile TT Championship 2015

Courtesy of the Legend of North East Cycling that is Ms. Isobel Smith, here’s the lowdown on the 2015 Scottish 100 Mile Championship. "With six miles to go it was all done bar the shouting; Stephen Williamson was looking strong and had increased his lead to 3.39 over the Deeside rider with last year's winner now having to settle for bronze."

Adrian Timmis – Part One; Riding Le Tour with ANC

Adrian TImmis could do it all: track, stage races, criteriums, cyclo-cross and even MTB. A talented junior with a British championship to his name, he rode the 1984 Olympics, turned pro with the most glamorous professional team Britain had ever seen, won a stage in the Midi Libere, rode Le Tour with the now legendary ANC team, landed a contract with Z-Peugeot and then...