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July 20/05 9:05 am - TDF Redden report (Stage 16)


Posted by Editoress on 07/20/05
 

Photographer Chris Redden is back at the Tour again this year, and here are his impressions from his first day at the 2005 Tour.

Photos

Oh to be a cycling fan at the Tour.

To find a good place to watch the race, you have to be there hours ahead of the race.

If you plan to be in the Mountains, you have to make sure you drive up the night before, otherwise they may close down the mountain to vehicle traffic. The mountain closure can happen the night before or the morning before the race depending what the police feel is appropriate. Once the mountain is closed, the only way to get up to watch the race is by bicycle or foot. Either way is not an easy task.

If you plan to get a place to stand on the barriers near the finish, count on at least 4 hours of staking out your place to see the finish.

The one bright light of your day will be the passing of the Caravan. The Caravan is a parade of vehicles /floats that precede the race. These vehicles represent Tour Sponsors or companies that want to promote their products. Millions of people all around France and the World see these floats, so this is an exceptional opportunity to promote a product. The best part about the Caravan is that they throw petit cadeaux to the crowd as they drive past. The crowd goes crazy for this stuff! It does help to get the crowd excited for the race and it gives everyone a chance to come away with a souvenir.

Some of the interesting things include: the green cardboard PMU hands, small dried sausage, little yellow umbrella hats, key chains, phone credits, yellow Credit Lyonnais hats, inflatable noise makers, candies, and a multitude of other things. Apparently they throw out 11 million objects over the Tour! That’s a lot of stuff!

The view as these strange vehicles make their way around France is quite a site! Enjoy the pics!

Race Notes:

• I was at the start line today as Levi Leipheimer was joking around with fellow Americans Chris Horner and Bobby Julich. Levi flipped his bike up to show them the wrench that he had taped to the underside of his downtube! Apparently the Specialized bikes are too light, and they lost the weights that were on the bike, so this was how the team was adding the difference! Nice! The other guys were laughing because the Tour has not checked weights since the start.

• Bobby Julich is riding the Soloist version of the Cervello. Not sure why he would want to ride that in the mountains, but I will try to find out why.

• Lance has a new set of Icons on his bike today, but no one had an answer as to what they meant. All I know right now is if you check out www.nikecycling.com that they may have the answers there. I was told that it was the 2000 tour and the 10th stage with bad weather and ….

• I have noticed that there are tons of Bike Tour companies swarming around the Tour. Actually it is pretty hard not to notice them, as there are so many of them, and they take over wherever they go. There are all kinds of companies from all over the world here. I would have to say from what I have seen, that if you speak English and want to do some riding as well, there are 2 companies that look good. Trek Travel seems to do a really good job, but it looks pretty high end. Lots of expensive bikes and access to the Discos too! Steve Bauer bike tours looks pretty good too. Steve also has a good relation with Discovery and they stay in some great places too. Both are worth checking out!

• Lance seems to be pretty confident and relaxed now that the mountains are over. He was a lot less reserved today than usual. Word is he will have a new bike for Paris this year. We have to wait to see what it will look like.

• There doesn’t seem to be anyone selling Livestrong Bracelets here this year. I was told to go to the Website to get any. Maybe they have sold more than they needed to?!? www.laf.org or www.wearyellow.com

• One of my personal cycling souvenirs has been to get a jersey signed by Lance. Last year, I tried to get the Yellow Jersey signed and was told that he doesn’t sign them. Apparently he feels that is it sacrilege to have the yellow jersey which is so prized, as something that is signed /written on. So there’s your answer. So, now, I have switched tactics and gone for a Discovery jersey.

• Vinokourov’s jersey IS a turquoise colour. He has the Kazakhstan national jersey. The colour on TV does not do it justice.

Tomorrow is a flat stage, so expect the sprinters to be up front at the finish. Chicken is pretty comfortable in the Climber’s Jersey, and I expect Lance to give it one last hard effort in the ITT before we hit Paris.

Till tomorrow.

 


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