Some call it The Race of Truth, the French call it Le Contre le Montre the normal description is Individual Time Trial.
I call it Silly Bike Day.
One by one the riders go out on a bike that’s worth more than your car wearing something a stripper would blush to wear and a big plastic thingy on their heads – and the winner is the fastest guy home. It’s great for me because I can shoot all day long and stay in one place.
Which is how I got to bump into 2 very important men at the Tour…
Our key man to shoot today was David Millar and, as he was preparing to ride, I was rushing from one spot to another 50 yards away to get a 2nd angle on him and barrelled straight into the arms of Christian Prudhomme, the grande frommage of the Tour. “Ah, you’re that crazy Engleesh/American I’ve heard about who wants to make many movies about cycling” he said in excellent English “we must talk!”
Actually he said no such thing. He just stared at the man with the camera, the head-phones and the crazy look on his face and stepped politely to one side to let me through.
And then there was The Devil! Didier Senft (think that’s his name) is some large bearded German bloke who dresses up as the Devil and follows every stage of the Tour with his nicely painted yellow pitchfork. The Devil (who my sources tell me is rather smelly and as potty as a row of portaloos) is such an institution at the Tour that his pitchfork and uniform now carry sponsorship logos.
So I’m scanning the crowd and there, across five rows of don’t-pass-here barriers and behind hundreds of spectators was Didier and his pitchfork. I turned on the camera and waved and Didier did his special Devil dance for us.
And M. Prudhomme thinks I’m crazy…