I got to the sign-in today. If the riders don’t sign in on time they get fined for being ‘disrespectful to the Tour de France’
Thoughts from the sign in:
Van Summeran – yup he’s very, very tall.
Maurico Soler – tall, brown and geeky-looking: like a head on two chopsticks.
Robbie McEwen – amazingly compact, he looks content
Erik Zabel – ageless, smiling, relaxed
Alejandro Valverde – does not look special at all despite the sexy yellow outfit. His crew look serious – I wouldn’t like to find them up my exhaust pipe.
Jens Voigt – my hero: smiling and joking as always. Good nose.
Carlos Sastre – tiny. Doesn’t look like a threat to me.
Fabian Cancellara – as JV says: “that man’s a motorbike.”
Today Smudger asked me a commonly posed enquiry: “why do cyclists go out on a breakaway when they’re always caught before the finish line? Well, apart from the tactical issues (it stops other attacks), the commercial reasons (the sponsors get lots of TV time) one mundane reason is that sometimes that breakaway actually works.
After the start today we kicked Har-V into hyper-drive and raced off to catch the Tour 50k down the road. As I jumped out of the truck and ran towards the course I heard a whisper about a breakaway and I’ll be bugggered but 10 minutes later, as the breakaway went past, there was Will Frischkorn, one of the riders I’m following, killing it in a 4 man bunch. Even though the camera’s rolling I couldn’t help myself: ” Go, Will, go!” I shouted. He glanced quickly my way – not too many Frischkorn fans out in these parts – and legged it up the road with his 3 new best friends.
As we drove south to Nantes the wind and the rain was battering us and also the riders somewhere West of us. The breakaway had stuck and our man Will stood a 1 in 4 chance of being in yellow tonight. Well he missed it by a whisker but he’s in the record books now. I wonder if he’ll be saying “what if?” Over and over for the rest of his life?