Tales from the Tour…Le Grand Depart part 3

The good thing about Time Trial stages is that you get a chance to build up some stock of riders you might not normally get…the bad thing about Time Trial stages is the amount of time it takes to go through all the pictures. By 2am on the saturday night/sunday morning i had finished the important edit (with 1500 shots to go through i didn’t finish all the others till i came home)

Luckily the start was not far away and also not too early but with a the first yellow jersey of the tour being worn and with Welshman Geraint Thomas wearing it the goal for the morning was to capture that moment and as you can see there was a bit of a scrum to get those

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But i think the proper shot worked out…Froomey in a “normal” jersey looking on at Geraint in Yellow

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Sacrificing time on the course to find the next to capture the Yellow jersey meant it was time for the first navigation fun and games of the Tour as we try and navigate our way onto the course. Race credentials and asking nicely usually get you back on course but its clear both ASO and the German police were taking security even more seriously. Its possible to negotiate with armed police but not when there is are bin lorries with no driver blocking the way. By the time we made it back onto the course there were so few kilometers left and some inauspicious landscape, not even the poor man’s scenic of a bridge to stand on it was a case of heading for the finish and settle in for the first sprint stage of the Tour, tucked in the mass of photographers and lens i awaited the arrival of the peloton into Liege

 

 

After a fairly long day on the road it was time for another 40 mins to find out hotel for what would turn out to be the best meal of the first week…

As we drove through Eupen we kept our eyes open for restaurants that were still open with the practiced eye of tour veterans we spotted a place called “paparazzi” which almost seemed a fait accompli that we were eating there. A quick check in later we were back there tucking into a great steak and a beer…the only small issue being that it was served in the wrong glass, which i would swear was illegal in Belgium..Sssshhh don’t tell anyone

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Tales from the Tour…Le Grand Depart Part 1

With the tour now over and the photos files there is some time to look back on the adventures that were had along the way.

The destination was Germany…Düsseldorf to be precise and it was to be a weekend of collecting countries, enough to make you look back fondly on boarder controls with stamps for you passport. On the drive across from the UK I notched up 4 countries in the 4 hour jaunt to the Grand Depart’s host city.

The weather looked like it was holding and with a few spots of rain on the way in i was holding out hope for a sunny weekend. By the time i arrived the wind had got up a bit and the clouds were looking thicker. Having picked up my accreditation and checked into my hotel there was still warmth and daylight to be had to with a few hours to spare.

I unpacked the bike got my kit on, tucked my credentials into my jersey and set off to recce the time trial course and kick the driving out of my legs. With the roads not fully closed yet i wasn’t able to do the full route, not with out braving some head on traffic in a busy city centre so i settled for looking out for anything suitable for a photo position for the race tomorrow.

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Riding done i headed down for the photographers meeting, realising that i had booked my accommodation really well and was barely a few minutes from the press centre. Sitting through the photographers meetings can be a little challenging at times as its hammered home that we need to keep out the way and take the security of the riders very seriously, as well as the security of everyone else, and after you have done that if you feel like making sure the other photographers are safe then that would be great. Thankfully there is some translation that goes on as otherwise my french fails spectacularly, i almost feel aggrieved that GCSE french didn’t cover this stuff.

Finally with all the obligatory stuff out the way it was onto the important task for the night…dinner and beer and the German’s weren’t going to fail us.

Be warned two of these on an empty Stomach isn’t going to end well…as both Pete and I can attest to….

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