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Tag: Le Tour de France 2010
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.
This morning at 07:00 we had Serge Gainsbourg with 'sea, sex and sun,' it's noon now and we've got Jane Birkin, '69, annee erotique.' Do these people never give it a rest ? We're nearly at the stage start, Dave has done the biz all the way up from Bordeaux.
Time trials are always difficult days at races. Firstly, the riders line up knowing their final position in the race depends on their forthcoming hour of solo work, and secondly, the logistics for the staff are super complex here at the TdF Stage 19.
"Sea, sex and sun," sings Serge Gainsbourg on Radio Nostalgi - all very well, but the boys have 640 K to drive, this Sunday morning, it's the TT from Bordeaux to Pauillac. Today's chrono is 52 kilometres, but Saturday's L'Equipe glossy magazine takes us back 30 years to a much shorter effort against the watch - the Olympic one kilometre championship in 'Moscou.'
The Final Efforts. We’re on the downhill slope for this race now, and the fatigue is starting to show. It’s getting tougher and tougher to chisel our heads off the pillow each morning, and the coffees are having smaller and smaller effects.
Cav: he really is impressive - we were at five K to go when Oss passed on his death or glory bid out of the break; he was flying. The bunch Like some high speed linear motored Japanese train - whhoooooooossssshhhhh! Those carbon rims slice the air.
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.
'Andy talks tough !' say the headlines, he did try his best yesterday, his men used whatever was left to drive up the lower part of the Col du Tourmalet - then he went for it. However, not for one moment did it look like Alberto Contador was under pressure.
'How's it goin' Shane?' we ask Skyman Shane Sutton as we cross the car park in search of Michael Barry for a rest day interview at the Le Tour de France 2010. 'Been better, mate!' he fires back between hard draws on his fag - it's difficult for a man who wears his heart on his sleeve to 'spin.'
Today was a good day, we took in all five cols of the stage, starting in Bagneres-de-Luchon - it only adds to your respect for the pros when you see what they have to deal with. The gruppo was travelling at funereal speed, 30 minutes down when it passed us near the top of the Aubisque.
How far to go. Stage 16 TdF2010 was the biggest climbing stage of the Tour, but the last climb was some 60km from the finish, which made for a weird looking profile for the day. The boys scaled four enormous mountains, the first beginning from km 0. Tough gig.
Voeckler, you have to admire him, he's a racer. Whatever happens, it's been a good Tour for Bbox, Charteau in polka dots for a good stretch and now Tommy takes a big one. Going down to Pro Continental doesn't seem to have affected them one bit - and it's saved them a fortune. It was a tad mad up on the Port de Bales today but great to be there - Monday afternoon, high in the Pyrenees under a clear blue sky with the world's best cyclists just inches away.
We left Ax3 Domaines this morning, and are now in Lourdes - a strange place, like a religiously themed Blackpool; only it's not little replicas of the tower they're selling, rather all manner of tat plastered with religious images. The last time I was there was with Martin, we sat, stunned in a late night pizza place - yellow jerseyed Rasmussen had just been sent home from le Tour by Rabobank.
Bonjour from Le Tour de France in Rodez-Revel! Vino - he's a boy. Born 16-09-1973 in Petropavlosk, he was a stagiere with Casino in 1997; he won the Dunkirk Four Day in his first full season and finished that year with six wins - an impressive debut.
After a single day of respite from the searing heat of the majority of this race, we were back into a bright sunny day for TdF Stage 13 with high temperatures. This meant the support crew were back up the road helping our boys as best we were able on the big climbs.
TdF Stage 13...The big question of the day: will it be a sprint or a break? The Tour has now fallen deep into the second half of the race and the real show to sort out who will finish where in the general classification starts today as we hit the high mountains of the Pyrenees.
Sadly, Tyler abandoned yesterday as his body finally said “enough”. We were all disappointed for him. It was very saddening to see his face, which showed the acute disappointment he felt. The race itself did go on, however, and typically, Garmin-Transitions were flying the flag despite the setbacks today at the TdF Stage 12.
Le Tour de France, Bourg-de-Peage-Mende, and Bert's back! And we were there to see it, a privilege. L'Equipe today says 'Fin de la Trêve' - that's 'end of the truce, (or respite)'. That's how it looked to us, Contador letting Schleck know that he's just fine.
Hump Day & Humdrum. As the physio on team Garmin-Transitions, all I can say is this is a dangerous sport. All things considered, 3rd place for Tyler yesterday was a fantastic effort by the whole team, with Dave Zabriskie helping to control the break for most of the day.
We headed to Bourg-les-Valence today, but first, Big Macs... they may pig you out towards an early grave, but damn, the wi-fi is good in there! Thursday was hectic, finished off with a train journey via Carstairs - I was a bit worried they might grab me - to Penrith, where I was meeting Dave to head to Stansted and La Belle France.
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.
Another Day, Another Epic. Yesterday’s stage was a 204km monster through hot weather over a series of significant climbs, totalling about 4.5km (vertical) of climbing all up. The climbs were spread at the start and end of the race, with a relatively flat section through the middle of the day. Enormous by any standards.
It couldn't go on like that. Men can only 'death race' for so long and then they need a 'blaw.' Today, on the stage out of Chambery, they took the chance to lean on their shovels and left the minnows to grab the glory. I really didn't expect to see the finalé but when the box kindled up, there it was - with 12 K to go and a race average of 34 kph.
Allergic to Stairs. I can remember watching the Tour in the years before being a part of the race. I was always completely gutted that just when things got interesting and they’d had a few mountain stages, there would be a rest day.
Before we talk about today’s stage from Morzine-Avoriaz, let’s spare a moment to remember the man who died on this day, July 13th 1967 on Mount Ventoux, Provence — world champion, winner of Paris - Nice, Milan — Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Lombardy. Tom Simpson is sadly missed but a legend, never to be forgotten.
Double Challenge. Mountain stages in bike races are inevitably decisive in sorting where riders finish in the race overall. They pose a number of challenges to a team atop the obvious physical barrier of the terrain itself.
Great racing today to Morzine-Avoriaz, and whatever Astana pay Paolo Tiralongo (Italia) and Daniel Navarro (Espana), it's not enough. Tiralongo has been around a long time, third in the Baby Giro in 1998 he turned pro in 2000 and arrived at Astana this year after three years with Fassa, three with Panaria and four with Lampre.
Weight of a Nation. Today was the first mountain stage of the race, and the second chance for the big hitters to test each others' legs and see who was looking dangerous and who not. I just love the mountaintop stages in these races!
Chavanel! A great day for him and QuickStep - their second stage, the maillot jaune regained and the polka dot jersey retained in gallant fashion.
Book out the window. There was a quote one of our boys gave on a day he crashed twice in 200m: “I thought I was pretty good at riding my bike.” Upon watching the final sprints and the way our boys have set up the lead-out train in the past two days, I think I could be forgiven for thinking something similar about what I do for a job.
We're in Montargis today, talking about Mark Renshaw; he has some nice wins in his palmares; the 2006 Tro Bro Leon, a stage in the 2008 Franco Belge and a hand in shattering Garmin's dreams to win the TTT in the 2009 Giro.
Relativity of Time. I have a great mate who has a theory on the relative speed of time passing. He believes that time should be measured experientially, rather than chronologically (similar to Dunbar in Catch-22, who believes if he does nothing for long enough, time will drag out to the point that he will effectively live forever).
Nice to have to you back, Mark! Columbia didn't dominate the finale here at Le Tour de France Stage 5 - Garmin did that - but the men in white and yellow did a huge amount of the work in the last hour. Renshaw was brilliant, not afraid to exchange bumps with Hushovd and weaving through Hunter and Farrar with ease, taking time in the chaos to calmly look back to check that Cav was where he was meant to be - ice cool!
Two Day Theory. It is a very fortunate thing that the situation that Garmin-Transitions is in during this Tour is a first time for all of us involved. The fortune I speak of is partly that we've never had to deal with nigh on half of our team all being pretty badly wounded on the one descent, and partly that the fretting resulting from this would leave us, the staff, nervous wrecks. I have made up a totally anecdotal "two day" theory regarding peoples' responses to injury and trauma. It's completely without scientific evidence or backing, but does explain a pattern of behaviour that I have regularly seen over the years.
Le Tour de France Stage 4 from Cambrai and Dean was good, very good, team mate Hunter finished fastest, swooshing clear of them all - but after the line. Garmin sprinter patron Tyler Farrar sat up to peer over the sea of heaving numbers to see how his boys had done.
The Bounce. We came to this Tour with nine guys ready to race. We’re down our leader and facing some injuries, but if yesterday proved anything it’s that we’re still up for it. The day started out with a little stress, considering the injuries some of the guys were going to go over cobbles with.
That's better! Hushovd gets his revenge through Arenberg, heroics from Hesjedal, great team work from Saxo and Cervelo, Andy Schleck stops being a mummy's boy, Geraint under scores his arrival and gets a Skoda Yeti and a white jersey, Contador does just fine for an 'ineffectual Spanish climber' and a bad day for Lance.
Perfect Storm of Crap! All talk of the Mock aside, holy crap. What a day. Yesterday’s stage was dubbed a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege as it covered a segment of the same course as that particular race. For those not in the know, LBL is one of the major Spring Classics on the calendar. It’s a tough race with lots of short, sharp hills on very small old roads.
Le Tour de France 2010 'Ride to rule,' 'rider protest,' or 'strike' - file all under, 'PR disaster.' Once again it was Viktor with the quote of the day; 'Tour Feminine.' Dave Chapman only needed one word; 'farce!'
Today's stage leaves from Rotterdam... but first; I didn't used to be a fan - but I guess that was just because he was one of the few who could beat my idol, Super Mario - but now I'm a confirmed Ale Jet admirer. Depending on which reference site you chose he's had 156 - or is it 169 wins?
Always Fear The Mock. Some would say that this is the most powerful force in the universe, and yet it has never been quantified. I for one am a firm believer in the Mock, and think that CERN should be turning their attention to investigating the power of the Mock, rather than the trivialities of the God particle, Higgs boson and what-all else you want to talk about.
We have a look at the Edinburgh Nocturne in this article, but first, once again VeloVeritas finds itself in the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ situation — last year at the Worlds, we were about the only ones to point out that Brad heaving his bike after a mechanical in the TT was not particularly good patter.
Before we go any further with the Cycling Scandals and Gossip, our apologies for the lack of words and pics on the National road race - the VeloVeritas team were all too busy with that 'life stuff' this week, sorry. However, we'll run them post Tour; to help ease that PTSF - 'Post Tour Stress Disorder.'
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.”
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.
Are we ready yet. Two days out from the start of the Tour. The whole team has arrived at the hotel, and the Show is about to begin! It's very exciting, but not much is really going on.
"It's cycling Jim, but not as we know it!" The presentation of the Tour de France route is something we used to read about in the mags and not really think twice about. We'd see the route in the Comic and have a blether about it, but maybe not think too much about it until Tour time.