Cadel’s bad day; straight from the horse’s mouth. Verbier wasn’t a good stage for Cadel Evans; as well as losing time to Contador - just like the entire field did – he lost time to podium rivals, Sastre, the Schlecks, and Wiggins. We spoke to Silence-Lotto’s manager, former Belgian pro champion, Marc Sargeant and DS, former Paris – Tours winner, Hendrik Redant, to get the low down.
Roadside St.14: Week two of the Tour; as far as action goes, it has been a bit tame - or has it? We thought we'd talk to some guys who don't just watch it on TV. PEZ caught up with Vandenbergh, Wegelius, Van summeren, Pineau, Beppu, Rogers, Van Hummel, Ten Dam, Arrieta, and whew, finally, Danny Pate. Read on!
Roadside St.6: We've spent the best part of a week roasting beside the Med, but now we're landlocked at 1400m in the highest capital city in Europe. The plan for the day had been to skip the trip to Barcelona, and go check out tomorrow's closing climb to Arcalis ... but it just didn't pan out that way.
Once things had wrapped up at the SaxoBank press conference, Gustav Larsson was one of the guys who'd managed to slip out relatively unseen, giving a pretty laid back interview to Swedish radio ... but Pez was waiting and we grabbed a few words with the genial giant.
Roadside St.15: Pontarlier, the start town is famed for being a centre of absinthe production - but Martin says I can't try any; I'm bad enough without hallucinogenic spirits. The climbing starts within minutes of quitting town; the Cat 3, 3.7k Rafour climb.
Roadside St.2: The riders were just getting started but we opted for a more relaxed day after the frenzied opening salvo in Monaco. Our hotel, rebooked after our original choice had fallen through, turned out to be just a couple of hundred yards from the very first PMU sprint of the race! Pretty obvious where to position ourselves today...
Roadside St.13: Stage 13 and the mechanics have to fit those 23's and 25's again. There's a first, two second and two third category climbs today. It ain't a sprinter's day! It could be another straightforward breakaway day, or it just might be the day that the Tour lights up. We put it to the some of the men who make the big tactical decisions; "does le Tour start today?"
Those of you who watch the live coverage of the Tour long enough to see the podium presentations will have noticed (if you’ve been looking closely enough) that a rider gets onto the podium, too, when the Skoda girls are on the stage. Pez got to chat to one of the beautiful ladies handing over the best young rider’s white jersey...
TDF Preview T Minus 1: Friday is the day before the Tour storm begins, and it's so humid in Monaco, it feels like we need a downpour to clear the air. There's a big comeback that everyone's talking about, but it's not just those who've made history that are important in cycling. There's the future, too, and new ways to think about.
It's always fun and games when Bjarne Riis hits the stage for a pre-Tour press conference, but most of today's belly laughs came courtesy of good ol' Jens Voigt with a couple of cracking one-liners and no messing put-downs. PEZ is live at the Tour, and here's report 'numйro un'.
Roadside Wrap: That's Post Grand Tour Stress Disorder. The Champs Elysйes stage of le Tour is the climax, the culmination of a near month long adventure around Europe. The riders and staff have a huge party in the plush Meridien Hotel; whilst the journos slip into the lift down to underground car park and realise that they can't put off gutting out the hire car any longer.
Roadside St.21: Ed and Martin have been hard at work for over a week now. They've logged thousands of kilometers behind the wheel, spent countless hours working, and finally, on the last day, they have but one wish: to be fans. That’s what we’re going to be today, we’ve been hacks for nine stages – time for a change.
Roadside St.16: "You know what, Martin? It must be great, just sitting there, with a picnic, watching the race." "Why don't we do that, tomorrow, Ed?" "Why not, indeed!"
Roadside St. 1: It was pretty obvious to everyone sitting at the roadside on the hill up from the Monaco Casino who had won this opener ... Fabian Cancellara was waaaay, waaay faster than anyone else hurtling past us.
Roadside St.4: Montpellier is a pretty scenic place to host a Tour stage start, all open, sunny plazas, leafy streets and gorgeous architecture. And giving the Tour a home for 24 hours, the mix of people who came out to see what was going on, and those who were working on it, made for some interesting chatter.
Roadside Recap: As we make our merry way through the rounds of the PEZ Looks Back, Ed is up for his retrospective on the Tour that was. As the ever discerning journalist, Ed's recollections aren't all of the positive sort, but worry not, the positives (not those positives) heavily outweigh any low points. Ready? Let's go.
Roadside St.14: It's hard to explain to folks who have never seen the Tour caravan just how crazy it is. Credit crunch, recession, whatever, the sponsors still spend those big bucks to get their products on the roads of France for a big chunk of July. Unlike TV, newspaper or movie advertising; this is interactive.
Roadside St. 3: So, what's a Tour de France rider to do when there's an hour to go before the race kicks off, and it's too hot and sunny to sit on the bus? He heads to the start village to drink coffee, hang out with friends and family, sign autographs for fans and flirt with pretty girls. After all, with a long, hot day ahead, who can blame him?
TDF Teams Presentation: Monaco means money, lots of money, and when you ask people for an adjective to describe the place they'll say wealthy ... or expensive! I won't speculate how far the Pez budget will stretch if I get mysteriously misdirected back from the Tour de France launch via the famous Casino... but why would I when there's a bike race launch to cover?!
Roadside St.8: So, the mobile phone bleeps twice ... a text message appears from the ether, sent by Marylin, the press relations assistant at ASO. “Remember to come to the interview space in the start village at 10.15am to meet your moto pilot.” I hadn't remembered, and now it was real.