TdF 101, two point five weeks in

In the Time Zone - TDF 2014

I’m having an afternoon off from the TdF barriers, or the coalface if you prefer, and writing my first tour report from this year. Don’t ask me where the time has gone…the race goes for three weeks, but I haven’t found 15 minutes to sit down and bash out a few thoughts.

It’s a guilty luxury to skive off from the race, even if I have the stage live on the tele a few metres away, and the road out front of our hotel has seen the TdF pass about 80 times over its 101 editions. Or so our host Marie-Helene tells me, and who am I to argue? She runs the place with her mother, who just might have seen it pass every time, and still rules the roost at breakfast. More café & croissants? Of course, right away (as soon as I feel like it).

Of course, in this third week of the tour, France is beside herself with excitement. Not because ‘our’ Michael Rogers won yesterday, but because there are Frenchmen in third, fourth and fifth on GC (General Classification) and we’ve only half a week to go to Paris. And they’re not ordinary Frenchmen…they are young. They haven’t much chance of victory, but THREE Frenchmen fighting for a podium place is unheard of in recent times. It’s nearly thirty years since the last Frenchman triumphed in Paris, and this situation is reminiscent of the good ol’ days, when their race was less ‘International’. They are getting nearly a page each, in the French daily sporting rag - more than the Italian in yellow.

Race Leader

As mentioned above, there is an Italian leading the race, Vincenzo Nibali or the ‘Messina Shark’ – he’s originally from Sicily. It’s an appropriate name for him, as he reminds me of a fish, in that I am yet to see him breathe. Or even open his mouth, for that matter. Maybe he takes in air through the vents in his helmet, or gills low in his neck, but it is impressive. Maybe he just takes a big breath at the start of the stage and hangs on. Whatever he is doing is working, and is an efficient strategy, as he hasn’t looked under pressure for the whole race.
NB His winning style is a little to close to that of Pantani, Ricco, Garzelli, Simoni & Basso, for me. All convicted Italian dopers.
Let’s not get onto the Spaniard Valverde in second place, another convicted doper.

The return of Sooty Park?

I’m often asked when we’ll put the band back together, and make another TV show, like the good ol’ Sooty Park, with the roller room etc. It’s a little hard now, as my former co-host Annabelle has moved to within walking distance of the SBS studios in Sydney, and pops in there occasionally to appear on their excellent cycling shows - Don’t miss Annabelle next time she’s on. If we do get the show back together, on Channel 31, it will be a different format, and under the name ‘Cycling DnA’. Which used to be an acronym (of sorts) for Dave ‘n’ Annabelle, but will now have to be Dave ‘n’ Anyone.
Or maybe Anna Wilson, when she is around.

Things I've tweeted, since the race started:

I'm not the man/mechanic I used to be. These days, when I get excited about a Chev, it'll be a French cheese
Unrelated things at the #TDF2014 Tommy Voeckler and a poker face...
It's a long way to Paris Vincenzo....! (not really, I was there this morning)
(apropos di niente)

Safest place in Australia? Between Clive Palmer and the salad bar.
Just realized we have 'LIV and DI' on tour.... #itamusedme (we also have a defibrillator)
There goes the peloton, around the corner Ullrich didn't....! ‪


Cucinare Report

We were treated to a fave of ours at Camon, that easily made 'best duck on tour' and if I have done things correctly, you sould be able to follow this link to our facebook page, for a look at it

Topbike Tours - TDF 2014 - Image by Scotty

Photos

Top Photo: Diane, on tour, near Camon Lower Photo: By Scotty - on tour - we think it is one of the Europcar riders, 'twas on yesterday's descent off Port de Bales, about 4k from Luchon


"In the Time Zone" by David Olle

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