Monday, May 20, 2024

Le Tour of France 2017 – Stage 10: Périgueux – Bergerac, 178km. Kittel makes his fourth look easy


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VeloVeritas’ first Tour stage start of the year; Stage 10, Périgueux to Bergerac through the lovely Dordogne Valley countryside.

Our digs were well out in the quiet countryside with friendly hosts and eccentric but fun Dutch guests sharing the pension with us; pretty much perfect except for when the cicadas were in full effect – and the wi-fi could have been a wee bit faster . . .

But not before all them words were written and pictures edited, placed and posted from the VeloVeritas bedoffice.

The photo editing happens in the office. Photo©Ed Hood
Chaves and Herrada have a chat on the way to the start. Photo©Martin Williamson

Périgueux wasn’t the busiest stage start we’ve ever witnessed but we’re not complaining; we were in among the buses and riders in jig time.

Chris Froome’s spare bike. Photo©Martin Williamson

Our first bit of anorakdom was to check out Chris Frome’s spare bike on the Sky car roof, he’s riding 38/52 elliptical rings – is that why his knees and elbows seem to be everywhere but where they should be, perhaps?

The Team Sky bus parks up outside the Palais De Justice. Photo©Ed Hood

Perhaps prophetically, the Sky bus was parked outside the court.

If it’s the court which judges on style on a bicycle and race suffocation then they’re in trouble.

Ashley House. Photo©Ed Hood

‘Danger, man at work’ as Eurosport’s Ashley House interviews Trek’s Alain Gallopin.

Ashley is a former school teacher of Economics, Business Studies and Italian at Cheltenham College, who quit his job to pursue a career in sports journalism & broadcasting.”

So now we know where he gets his deep knowledge of the sport from.

Remember the days when we had Dickie Davies for five minutes just before Kent Walton and the wrestling?

Me neither!

Contador’s bike is ready to go. Photo©Ed Hood
Bert knows where the climbs are, but what can he do about it? Photo©Martin Williamson

Alberto’s white Trek looks sharp against the black Trek bus – just a pity Bert’s not looking as good.

We like the man and his ‘never say die’ attitude is sorely lacking in many of his contemporaries but it does seem like it’s one Grand Tour too many for the wee chap from Pinto.

Sarah and Jack Bauer. Photo©Ed Hood

The QuickStep bus next and ‘our boy” Jack Bauer and his lovely Australian wife, Sarah.

We reminisced about the first interview I did with him ‘back in the day’ when he was an up and coming kermis king in Flanders – and now he’s a key member of a World Tour team.

I swear that boy gets taller, slimmer and more handsome every time I see him.

George Bennet. Photo©Ed Hood

And on the subject of sharp Kiwi’s, how about Lotto Jumbo’s George Bennett; he won the Tour of California and sits in 10th spot overall – very impressive.

Marcel Kittel’s bike, first to win a TdF with disc brakes. Photo©Martin Williamson

Now, we’re sorry but Kittel’s bike just doesn’t do it for us, no matter how much it cost.

Not the lime green tape, not the graphics – and certainly not the discs.

Much of the feedback we receive suggests that most folk are of the same opinion as us; ‘if it’s not broke then don’t fix it.’

Greipel’s bike. Photo©Ed Hood

Big Marcel should have a word with Greipel’s air brush man – much cooler, if you ask us.

Andre Greipel signs autographs. Photo©Martin Williamson
Andre Greipel gets ready for the start. Photo©Ed Hood

And it’s not ‘til you’re close to the big German that you appreciate just how robustly built he is – it must be hard work hauling that big frame over the likes of mont du Chat.

Thomas is happy to oblige the ‘selfie’ takers. Photo©Martin Williamson

Gone are the days when the rider scribbled the day’s parcours on a piece of paper Scotch taped to his stem.

In place we have cool vinyl stickers; here Thomas de Gendt applies his – but today was too flat for him, really.

Steve Cummings looking relaxed, but he always does! Photo©Ed Hood
Steve Cummings. Photo©Martin Williamson

Stevo was looking great in his British Champion’s jersey – but hard to chat to, he’s so much in demand for ‘selfies’ and autographs.

Lilian Calmejane. Photo©Ed Hood

‘Next Big Thing’ stage winner Lilian Calmejane certainly looks the part – if only he can keep his feet on the ground.

Martin and Scott Mitchell discuss aperture settings, or something! Photo©Ed Hood

Martin chatted to Wiggo’s personal photog, Scott Mitchell who lives in Edinburgh and frequents Ronde bike shop.

With the disappearance of Wiggins from the pro race scene, Mitchell is now with Dimension Data for the duration of this Tour.

In this picture Martin uses Nikon D3’s, Scott has a Canon 5D – one step down from thermo-nuclear weapons, as an amateur, I kept clear.

Edvald Boasson-Hagen. Photo©Ed Hood

Boasson-Hagen has been getting up there in the sprints, looking sharp – when we saw him today he was in full ‘hurdy gurdy’ chat mode for Norwegian TV with perma-tanned former Tour stage winner, Dag Otto Lauritzen.

Roman Kreuziger. Photo©Martin Williamson<