Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2017 - Rest Day 1: Dordogne. Moules, frites,...

Le Tour de France 2017 – Rest Day 1: Dordogne. Moules, frites, turbos, and interviews


moutes, frites

We’re in the Dordogne, it’s a Tour de France Rest Day, and we’re at the QuickStep team’s mussels and beer bash. The deal is that they have four static bikes on rollers hooked up to a magnetic ‘cycle track’ – Scalextrix style – with little ‘Lego figures’ on tiny bikes on the track.

The harder you pedal, the faster your little figure goes.

Scottish honour was upheld by VeloVeritas with Martin posting the fastest time against Berteld Van de Velde, “the Moules Guy” at time of leaving, although the Davide Bramati v. Wilfried Peeters heat looked damn quick to us, albeit they’re unlikely to want to spend a weekend at ‘Penzion Stybar’ in the Czech Republic, the reward for being fastest on the day.

No surprise though to find out the following day that Martin “hadn’t finished the day with the fastest time”. Who had? difficult to find out… Flicked the Belgies, again..

Martin and Berteld hammer the fixies to speed their little riders around the track. Photo©Ed Hood
Davide and Wilfried still have a lifetime of racing in their legs, and make it look easy. Photo©Martin Williamson

Yes, despite being warned off by Vik, the VV boys couldn’t resist the lure of the QuickStep ‘mussel party’ – with moules by the kilo, frites and every sauce you can think off not mention Leffe by the litre and cool 70’s tunes, we couldn’t think of any reason not to go.

The venue for QuickStep’s party this evening. Photo©Ed Hood
The Dordogne is lovely; green, rolling roads, beautiful houses and villages – but, we have no time for riding. Photo©Martin Williamson

But let’s not talk chateaux just yet, let’s go back to dreich Edinburgh…

‘I have black coffee with honey then get into my vaporiser, that’s why I rabbit on like this !

Cabbies, don’t you love them?

So much for my ‘quiet run to the airport’ – but the man did share his proposals for Stages One and Two for when the Tour comes to Edinburgh.

I’ll be sure to mention them to Christian P. when I see him.

I bumped into James McCallum at the airport, unfortunately he ‘got a pull’ at security – those ex-pros all look a bit dodgy – VeloVeritas sailed through.

He did have time to tell me that he’s doing commentary work for Eurosport; sadly for James, not with Carlton…

‘Urban Cyclist’ mag got me through the flight to London City.

How do know you’re in London?

When a bacon roll costs £5.69 – but that’s with cherry tomato chutney though. The VV budget wouldn’t stretch to that so I settled for a cappuccino – a mere £3.95.

Mad, Mad, MAD! Photo©Ed Hood


Deep joy, today’s L’Équipe with Froomey hollering, Porte on the deck and in pain and Barguil thinking he’d won, all in colour on the cover.

On the ‘classement’ page there’s a line through 198 – the new number of coureurs is 181 due to abandons or OTL (outside time limit) including green jersey contender Arnaud Demare and three team mates.

It was 1995 when four riders from the same team last missed the cut – four Belgians from Lotto-Isoglass.

Demare came home @ 58:48 with the last classified finisher being Astana’s Lutsenko @ 37:49 – Dan McLay was @ 37:26.

Dan was in same group as Ben Swift, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Nacer Bouhanni.

But what matters is that Demare was eliminated, he didn’t abandon; not in the tricolour jersey – you don’t dishonour that garment by ‘chucking it’…

Last man on GC is Demare’s team mate, Olivier Le Gac @ 1:56:56 – close to my 1980 ‘personal’ for a ’50.’

‘Take the risk or lose the chance’ is what it says on Romain Bardet’s top tube – his average speed off mont du Chat was 61.2 kph with a maximum of 86.8 kph – the man took the chances right enough.

The mountain of the cat gave Dan Martin one of it’s nine lives – it’s that lucky Irish blood in him but she was less generous to Porte who had yet another Grand Tour nitemare.

To climb aforementioned feisty feline ascent, the ‘Bigs’ choice of ‘braquets’ makes interesting reading: Barguil 36 x 28; Contador 36 x 30; Demare 34 x 30 and Froome 36 x 32.

With the big question being; ‘what gear would I need to get up there?

Patrick Lefevre’s boys are bringing home the bacon. Photo©Martin Williamson

And finally, stats-wise, bearing in mind that it’s, ‘All About The Base’ – or in this case, ‘The Euros,’ Brent Copeland”s Bahrain-Merida squad are on 1,680 € whilst Patrick Lefevre’s QuickStep have 51,660 € in the coffers thus far.

The boys need a stage win, Sen. Colbrelli!

That said; a losing Wimbledon first round player receives £42,000…

The plane journey to Bergerac passed quickly and Martin was waiting for me at the airport with the hire car; our digs are well out in the sticks but there’s good wi-fi and a decent shower.

The QuickStep Team’s Moules Party is good fun, and a good opportunity to chat to staff. Photo©Martin Williamson

Despite VV soothsayer, Viktor’s ban on us mentioning the QuickStep ‘mussel party,’ it’s a great gig – no riders this year but Patrick Lefevre, Davide Bramati and Tom Steels were all there as well as 200 kilograms of mussels a ‘road block’ of frites and all the Leffe a man could want – being the pros we are we had but one glass.

Martin and Alessandro Tegner. Photo©Ed Hood

We chatted to team press man, Alessandro Tegner who’s been with the team for 15 years now; DS Wilfried Peeters – who you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of – and much more simpatico DS, Italian Davide Bramati.

Peeters was Classics King Johan Museeuw’s right hand man for many years and won Gent Wevelgem in his own right whilst ‘Brama’ was also a Mapei/QuickStep man with stage wins in the Giro and Vuelta to his credit.

Despite Dan Martin’s horrible crash on Stage Nine the mood in the camp is good; with three stage wins courtesy the man with the fastest finale hair in the peloton, Marcel Kittel, it would be a surprise if it was anything else.

Moules, frites
As ‘Brama’ says; ‘we’re a family, as well as a team.’ Photo©Martin Williamson

The Italian admits that it took him a wee while to get out of his rider’s mentality of only thinking of himself rather than thinking about ‘his boys’ but with 10 Giros and six Tours under his belt he has the hang of it now.

The unanimous opinion in the camp is that if Dan Martin hadn’t come down after Richie Porte ran out of road and had that horror crash then the Irishman would have won the stage.

The consensus – in agreement with how we see it – is that Froome will be very difficult to dislodge now and if he does have to pull back some time then that 22.5 K TT in Marseille on the penultimate day is made for him.

Bramati is optimistic about the rest of the race pointing out that there are stages coming up which suit Gilbert and Stybar and it’s 90% that the next two days will end in sprints for Kittel.

The ‘but’ is that with Demare out, QuickStep can no longer rely on FDJ for a ‘punt’ in chasing down the break – but Katusha for Kristoff, Cofidis for Bouhanni and Lotto for Le Gorille will all lend a hand.

The party was just getting into it’s stride when we left but with all those kilometres back to the digs and deadlines to meet we had to let Los Bravos and ‘Black is Black’ fade into the distance.

Sacrilege indeed!

Thanks to Berteld for the moules! Photo©Martin Williamson

Sprinter stage today but we’ll try to make it interesting.

Wonder what’s for breakfast?

Ciao, 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

Dave Millar Scores a Deserved Win (TDF 2012 Stage 13)

Dave Millar takes a superb stage; Stage 12 was as close to a guaranteed breakaway stage as there is with it’s steeply lumpy early: flat late profile. The sprinters lose too much time to be able to catch up and contest a bunch finish, but it is far too flat to result in any time gaps between the big hitters.

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 19: Bourgoin-Jallieu > Aubenas, 178km

We left Bourgoin-Jallieu this morning, but first a quick run through some of the teams' performances; Cervélo: their Tour has been a good one, Haussler and Hushovd have won stages and Thor has made himself a whole load of new fans by the way he has ridden in pursuit of green.

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 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.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 11; Carcassonne – Montpellier. Sagan and Froome Escape the Sprinters

From Carcassonne it COULD have been a ‘snooze-fest.’ It SHOULD have been a sprinters stage. Enter, stage left one superb Slovakian in green, Mr. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). He attacks from the front in the cross winds inside 12 K to go with Polish TT champ team mate Bodnar aka ‘The Bison’ and spreads pure panic among the world’s best riders – but that skinny Sky man Froome is sharp again, as is team mate Thomas.

Le Tour de France 2010, First Rest Day Rant

Dear VV readers, we present our TdF2010 Rest Day Rant. It started when Vik phoned; "Have you seen the Sky website? "Bradley was limiting his losses, ho, ho, ho!"

Peter Sagan – a New Rockstar

A New Rockstar... Peter Sagan has now won three stages of the Tour this year: two uphill sprints, and a straight-up bunch kick. I’ve already mentioned it, but he’s still got more than ten Tours de France in his future (all things being well). How good is this kid going to be?

At Random

T’was the Day Before the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2012…

We're at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2012... we left the Vivaldi at 02:15 on Thursday morning - we must be getting old. Gent is changing, they've pulled down most of the station and there are cranes everywhere as the old girl's face gets lifted.

Felice Gimondi

Felice Gimondi, Grand Tour conqueror, Classics winner, ‘chronoman’ of quality, stylist, gentleman and all-time great, rest in peace sir.

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...

Evan Oliphant – Now with Raleigh and Very Motivated

It's hard to believe but this will be Evan Oliphant's eighth season as a professional. It was back in 2005 when he first pulled on a Recycling jersey; he won the East Yorkshire Classic that year and grabbed second place to Serguei Ivanov on stage four of the Tour of Britain. Last season saw his usual domination of the Scottish scene continue and a strong 11th place on GC in Paris-Correze. For 2012 there's a new name on his jersey - but it's an old name, really.

Nico Mattan – A Drink with VeloVeritas

It was too good an opportunity to miss - Viktor with his pils; me with my Diet Coke; Ghent-Wevelgem and De Panne winner, Nico Mattan with his Carlsberg. I was interviewing Nico thanks to his DFL team mate, Evan Oliphant, who set the meeting up.

Gent Six Day 2012 – Friday Night

Here in Gent Friday night has always been the big night of the Gent Six Day 2012. It's not just about the beer, it’s about the cycling and fans of all ages bring the wife or girlfriend to what is for all concerned a big night out. A number of the revellers are ex-riders many of whom no doubt spend the night reminiscing on their time pedalling around the hollowed boards of Het Kuipke.