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.
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.
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?
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.
‘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?
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.
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.
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.
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.’
Big Marcel should have a word with Greipel’s air brush man – much cooler, if you ask us.
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.
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.
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.
‘Next Big Thing’ stage winner Lilian Calmejane certainly looks the part – if only he can keep his feet on the ground.
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.
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.
Former GC contender turned mega domestique, Roman Kreuziger ia another who may no longer be a big winner but looks terrific.
Simon Yates is fortunate to have a man like that at his side.
Carlos Betancur isn’t Mr. Charisma and he still looks a tad porky to us but on his day and at the right weight he’s a brilliant rider; it’s hard to get a ‘lucky win’ in Paris-Nice.
Dan McLay is cool, big, strong, fast but aff