vrijdag 30 juni 2017

Tour de France 2017

It's that time of year again, The Tour de France. The biggest cycling race in the world.
This year we start in Germany Dusseldorf and we will have 3540km of racing but incluiding the transfers you need to count an other 3500km more.
We have number 511 on the motorbike.
30/06: After yesterday's team presentation we do today some press-conferences and after that we have a meeting with the organisation to discus what we can but more what we cannot do. It's important to do meetings like that especially for those guys that don't do as many races like myself.

Myself and 2 other drivers are fully equipped from head to toe in REV'IT! motorcycling clothing.
(c) Nico  Vereecken

1/07: Stage 1: time trail in the city of Dusseldorf. A lot of people showed up but from the first untill the last rider it was raining. Because of these bad weather conditions lot of riders crashed or lost time in the general classification. 

3/07: Yesterday we finished in Liege / Belgium. It was cool finishing in Belgium but we had almost the whole day heavy rain. Lucky it cleared out at the finish and temperatures went up.
(c) Kei Tsuji
Today we started in Verviers / Belgium. My first impression was the insane amount of police and special forces that was at the start and riding with us on Belgium ground. It gives you a 'safe' feeling but maybe they are here because there are some threats? We will never know...
After 21km we enter the legendary Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps
(c) Kei Tsuji
At the finish-line i photobombed a photographers picture by surprising my dad and jumping on his back. Even Stefan Kung (current white best young rider jersey holder) looked surprised. 
(c) Luca Bettini
8/07: The past days nothing very special really happend. It was even sometimes long and boring stages. So let me tell you how are days look like: 
- wake up in between 7:30 and 9:00. It depends the start time and transfer from hotel to start.
- dropping the suitcase at the truck ready for the next hotel
- after breakfast filling up the bike 
- going to the start. Approximately 1 hour before we arrive there.
- having a quick look at the team busses or village depart
- 15min before the start we have a pre race meeting with the regulator. There he says what are the crucial/dangerous points are. Where we can and not can overtake.

- race underway
(c) Nico Vereecken
- finishline 
(c) Luca Bettini
- after the finish we go to the pressroom. There the photographers and editors have around 3 hours work to proces all pictures. 

9/07 finally we had a real mountain stage. With 7 climbs all above 1000m with every time a nice decent. But the last decent of Mont du Chat is very technical and super fast. During that decent some riders crashed very hard and were taken to the hospital so that was the end of the Tour de France.
(c) Stephane Mantey
(c) Kei Tsuji
After the stage we still had to do a 600km transfer... in rainy conditions and this in the dark arriving after midnight... vive le tour...

10/07 rest day, yes! No no we still jump on the bike to follow the training of Chris Froome and Team Sky. And just like yesterday it was rainy like hell
(c) Tim De Waele
12/07 I think we are in sunflower paradise... haha
(c) Dion Kerckhoffs

13/07 Temperatures are getting better and better lucky we have these cooling vests to cool us down. 
14/07 Special day for the French but also for the riders. A stage of only 101km. That's mean full gas racing from the start. 
(c) Kei Tsuji
17/07 2nd restday. This time i'm completely off. A real restday, the perfect time to clean the bike and just relaxing. 
22/07 last week was hectic. The gc riders went all in but nothing cracked Chris Froome. He did not crack in the mountains and after todays time trail in Marseille he's still got the yellow leader jersey. We had a lot of nice mountain roads with thousand of spectators waiting for hours just to get a glimpse of there favourite rider. 
(c) Kei Tsuji

(c) Luca Bettini

During todays recon of the time trail my buddy Michael had a mechanical problem with his bike. Lucky Olympic champion Greg stopped to give him a little help.
After the stage we drop our bike at the train station to load them up on the 'auto train' direction Paris.

23/07 Arriving at 7:30 in the morning by sleeping train. After picking up the bikes we had time enough to cruise around Paris and playing the tourist. 

Then of to the start. Always crazy the last stage. Everybody wants that picture with Chris Froome in the yellow leader jersey celebrating with champagne. 

Then we place our self behind the peleton to turn up the Champs-Elysees to take a picture of the peleton to get the Arc de Triomphe in the backgroud and Patrouille de France flying over with smoke in the French colors.

(c) Vincent Kalut
This is the end of the 2017 Tour de France, 6880km in totale.

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