As the ASO looks forward to a fresh start at this year's Tour, PEZ' Guy Wilson-Roberts looks back forty years to 1968 when the Tour de France hoped to prevent doping in the peloton and ensure a tour of good health following Tom Simpson's death the year before.
PEZ Roadside Stage 7: Before heading for the hills again today, I decided to have a roll around the Village Depart to see who was around. I managed to hook up with some folks separated by some weird 'Six Degrees Of Separation'-type link ... then it was off to the misty heights of the Auvergne to watch the latest installment of Tour action .....
PEZ Roadside Stage 16: "F***ing hell!" hollers Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang as he points to the road ahead, which disappears around the mountain side, way above us; just like us, he thought you couldn't go any higher. Welcome to the Col de la Bonette-Restefond, Sven - the "roof of the world!"
This is it, people! Roll up, roll up for le Tour de France. This is sport's equivalent of a freeform jazz freakout. You might not understand why it twists and turns the way it does. You might not always enjoy the sound, but you will never go unaffected! It all begins with today's team presentation in Brest.
PEZ Roadside Stage 4: There's nothing more off-putting than being blasй about something. When you luck out you should thank The Chief upstairs or who ever you happen to believe in. For my part, I can only try and explain what a fantastic day I had slipstreaming a top pro for 29.5kms of TT excitement!
PEZ Roadside Stage 18: The second category, 14 kilometre Croix de Montvieux, the last major climb of the 2008 Tour de France, and the last chance for CSC to widen the time cushion for their two contenders, Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck, before Saturday's 53km time test.
PEZ Roadside: Stage 19 may be less than memorable in Tour history, but it was epic for PEZ. For the first time, we rode the entire stage on a “photo moto” – complete with our own pilot – and witnessed a TDF road stage from the vantage point normally reserved for photo-pros like Cor Vos and Graham Watson. It was a truly amazing day…
PEZ Roadside Stage 17: I bail out of the Volvo at Turn 9 with around six kilometres to go, that’s the Rooks turn; every hairpin is named after a winner on this legendary strip of tar. Appropriately enough, a bunch of drunken Dutch guys form a human arch, which their equally drunk buddies have to ride through.
PEZ Roadside Stage 6: There is an evacuation plan for getting off the summit finish at Super-Besse - riders and buses first. For the rest of us, it'll be a bit of a wait tonight, but that's no problem. PEZ had promised me something explosive on the final climb in this volcanic region, so I was fired up for my first real sight of Tour racing!
Ed Hood's right hand man at this year's Tour de France, Martin Williamson, got quite the eyeful throughout his journey through the second half of the Tour, and lets us in on a few of his thoughts and observations, as we enjoy our final Tour de France wrap.
PEZ Roadside Stage 5: It's easy to lose track of the days when chasing a Grand Tour, and even more so when crossing the vast expanses of northern France. But there's always a start, a finish, and an adventure in between, even on the flattest stages as Gord reports from Chвteauroux.
Time to join the heaving throngs of fans, technical staff, organizers, hangers-on and hangers-out with a desire to pass through the Village Depart's gates and into cycling celeb heaven. It's the Grand Depart of Le Tour de France!
This part of the world used to be (in)famous for piracy, but nowadays the only wholesale grabbing of goods is entirely legal. It’s press conference day with Team Columbia introducing their Tour squad in newly-minted colors .... and where there's a team launch there's swag aplenty to be had!
PEZ Roadside Final #2: Two weeks inside the Pez/Tour bubble, and every second an adventure. The whole time was kinda like a mountain descent. You never know exactly what’s around the corner, you’re never sure if you’ll run out of road, you never forget that you’re high-wiring on the ‘going smoothly/going horribly’ tightrope.
Roadside St.2: “2 other pix ...... maybe pick best one. I'm too pie-eyed to tell now. Have a look at the measures he was pouring!!!!” – So read Gord’s email last night. I could tell by the photos that Gord had found his place at this year’s Tour…
PEZ Roadside St. 20: Steegmans sways out of the saddle, his long powerful, brown legs that can win Tour stages are stabbing at the pedals: Adam stays in the tuck, he’s more stylish than the QuickStep man, the gear is lower, but the bear-like Steegmans is coming back at the Australian...PEZ followed Adam Hansen from his warm-up through post race interview at today's final time trial!
PEZ Roadside Wrap #1: The Tour is too full of stories to report in just 3 weeks, so here's Ed's look back... A wise man once said; “85% of your problems in life talk back at you!” In other words; “life is about people,” and we met the best of people on the 2008 Tour de France.
Stage 18 Start: The day after Sastre had the best day of his career, the question was; "did he do enough?" We braved the blazing sun at the stage start in Borg-D'Oisans to get the juice from those who know.
At 52 kilometres into the stage, having passed hundreds of Gendarmes and officials, Jean-Paul Loris from ASO throws himself into the road in front of us; "stop, stop, you have the wrong stickers, orange, not blue, you stop now!"
Roadside St.3: It's not just the 20 teams of nine riders who make the Tour. It's all the other teams that contribute to making up the spectacle, and one of the biggest parts of that is the caravan publicitaire. Today, I got the chance to find out a little more.