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4 weeks in the life of a Tour de France follower, part 3

Added: monday 03 September 2007 at 1:28:00
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    4 weeks in the life of a Tour de France follower, part 3While the riders already rode the second stage of the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) today (Daniele Benatti [Lampre-Fondital] won the first stage [he already showed his good sprints in the Tour de France and now continues in the Vuelta] while the second place was for Oscar Freire [Rabobank] and the third for Alessandro Petacchi [Milram]; the second stage was for Oscar Freire while Daniele Benatti was mad because he was hindered by a massive fall at 2 km from the finish, which means he lost his first place in the ranking), I'm still talking here about the Tour de France ... while reading this you'll understand why!

    As I announced it here some time ago, I worked on the Tour de France during the month of July to create the blog Orange dans le Tour.

    On the 'Orange dans le Tour' blog I gave a look behind the scenes of the Tour and that's why I did a lot of different things in the Tour de France 2007: the advertising caravan (Panach', Festina, Skoda), the advertising caravan direction, Mavic, des journées avec deux équipes (AG2R et Caisse d'Epargne), France Télévisions, but of course also some days in one of the Orange 'avant-course' cars.

    My experience of 4 weeks in the Tour in 4 blog posts completed with some pictures (soon you'll find many more pictures in the photos section of this website) ...


    The third week


    The third week for us, the second for the Tour de France ...

    Sunday 15 July, Le Grand-Bornand > Tignes

    That day, in the Village Départ, I decided to take some pictures of riders who enter the village and that's why I was at the entrance of the village when suddenly I felt some people pushing in my back. I turned around to look what happened and I saw several photographers behind me. That's why I turned around again (without moving to give them some more space of course ;-) and in front of me I saw a woman I didn't recognise, but when looking at her badge I saw that it was Roselyne Bachelot , who currently is France's minister of Health, Youth affairs and Sports. Of course I decided to seize this opportunity to take some pictures of her!

    A little bit later I interviewed Gio Lippens of the Dutch radio NOS who did the Tour de France on a motor for the Radio Tour de France show.

    That day I was in an Orange car (yes, sometimes you have to come back and see your colleagues) and it really was a great stage with some nice views, especially around the Barrage de Roselend. After a short stop at the Relais Etape in Bourg-Saint-Maurice we continued to Tignes. Not far from the finish we saw my sister Meggie and her boyfriend Jorg. With a radio in her hand and under a banner which she showed me already in a MMS she sent me earlier that day it was easy to recognise them so we could stop and have a quick chat!

    After the finish in Tignes, the evacuation (that's when all Tour de France cars leave and go to the different hotels) was quite difficult so we spent some time there. For me that was a great opportunity to interview Kim Andersen, manager of the CSC team and Claudio Corti, manager of the Barloworld team .

    That night we had a big party in Tignes because the other day was a rest day. Newsport organised a party, but since there were so many people we decided to go to another disco and when too many people came there as well we went back to where the Newsport party was. It was quite a cool party and a great night!
    15 July 2007 - Le Grand-Bornand > Tignes : Sylvain Chavanel in his polka dot jersey, Roselyne Bachelot, Gio Lippens - Radio Tour de France, Barrage de Roselend and my sister Meggie

    > Watch all photos I took on the 15th of July

    Monday 16 July, rest day in Val d'Isère / Tignes

    This was the first rest day which was well deserved both by the riders as by the followers of the Tour ... in a beautiful set between Tignes and Val d'Isère you can't ask for more!
    This rest day we first ... rested: I woke up only at ... 10AM! Yes, I had an appointment at the Permanence in Tignes with someone from A.S.O. to meet with the guy who's responsible for telecommunications and photo. He gave me several nice photos and I also seized the opportunity to interview him and discover that A.S.O. uses a very sophisticated software tool they developped internally and which they use to index all photos .

    Back at our hotel in Val d'Isère my colleagues also woke up in the mean time and they were waiting for me to take the ski-lift to Lac de l'Ouillette. Close to that lake we had a great picnic and some of my colleagues decided this was also a great place to catch up some sleep. When we were there my sister and her boyfriend joined us and I finally left with them to go back to our hotel by car. Once arrived at the hotel I took a dive in the swimming pool there ... isn't it hard to work on the Tour ;-) ?!
    16 July 2007 - rest day Val d Isere/Tignes : Didier on photo indexing and the Lac de l Ouillette in Val d Isere

    > Watch all photos I took on the 16th of July

    Tuesday 17 July, Val d'Isère > Briançon

    Since our hotel was in Val d'Isère we could leave quite late to go to the Village Départ. Close to the Village Départ I interviewed Karine who's a physiotherapist for the AG2R team and since I was thus close to their bus I probably was on TV in the 'Village Départ' show on France 3 that day, but unfortunately I didn't find it on the Internet to watch it :-(.
    At the start I saw my sister Meggie and her boyfriend Jorg again who had the last day of their vacation there. It's really cool to see your family during the Tour ... and for them it must have been cool to be seen as 'those people who know someone of the Tour de France' ;-).

    That day's stage was quite difficult (especially after a rest day!) and since immediately after the start they had to climb a mountain, some riders made a short tour on the start of the stage's track as a warming up .

    The finish was up-hill in Briançon and it was impossible to get all Tour cars up there. Therefore, buses would bring us to the finish, but since the city decided that after a certain time no buses could circulate any more we arrived for the last bus and over 100 people were waiting already. So we realised that it would be impossible to get everyone in that bus and we decided to get back to the stage's track and do the last 1,5 km by foot. The people in Briançon weren't really encouraging us (some nice people did of course!!) and the journalist with who I was walking up-hill said that maybe they would be more enthusiastic if we'd do it in a sprint. He was probably quite surprised when I asked him to hold my camera so I could test ... it didn't change much though, but at least I had my sport sequence for that day :-).
    17 July 2007 - Val d Isere > Briançon : Meggie at the start, Village Départ on France 3 and Christophe Moreau and Mikel Astarloza at the finish in Briançon

    > Watch all photos I took on the 17th of July

    Wednesday 18 July, Tallard > Marseille

    Under a blue and sunny sky, the small town Tallard gave us a very good welcome. I started my day with a walk around the village hoping to find Christine Hénaff, press officer in Tallard.
    After having interviewed her I decided to seize the opportunity with the nice weather and the stage's track being very close to the Village Départ to take some pictures of the advertising caravan.
    Back in the Village Départ, I was one of the lucky people who could taste an apple from Tallard and I can really recommend them: it was delicious!

    Once we left on the stage (on a road between many apple trees), we enjoyed the nice weather and the enthusiasm of the people. Between Cassis and Marseille we briefly stopped to take some pictures of the nice view on the sea.

    That night we slept in a hotel which was called 'Le Pyjama' in Super Sauze ... a very nice place after a very nice stage!
    18 July 2007 - Tallard > Marseille : the mayor and press officer of Tallard, apples, the pyjama - Etap Hotel advertising caravan and the nice view between Cassis and Marseille

    > Watch all photos I took on the 18th of July

    Thursday 19 July, Marseille > Montpellier

    Another day in the advertising caravan but not in one of the caravans itself but in the 'Direction Caravane' car ... yes, I got everywhere!
    That's how I could see how Cyrille and Jean-Pierre make sure everything's OK with the advertising caravan, make sure the trucks get back on track after a diversion (when a bridge is too low for them to pass for example), how LCL gets new bags in their cars , etc.

    That day I also met the second fan of the blog Orange dans le Tour and just before the finish we stopped so I could take pictures of the whole advertising caravan!
    19 July 2007 - Marseille > Montpellier : with the direction caravane, the LCL advertising caravan and even more fans of the blog

    > Watch all photos I took on the 19th of July

    Friday 20 July, Montpellier > Castres

    For this stage, my parents left early from Couffouleux and we picked them up at the station in Montpellier. For my father this was a surprise and I think he quite liked it! They spent the whole day with us in an 'avant-course' car and so they did the whole stage to Castres.
    Before arriving in Castres, we stopped once when we heard some people screaming 'Thomas, Thomas, Thomas, Thomas ...' .. some other fans of the blog ;-).

    At the finish in Castres we went to our hotel close to Toulouse and from there I drove my parents back to their house in Couffouleux.
    20 July 2007 - Montpellier > Castres : my parents with Mart Smeets of the Dutch TV and Tom Boonen wins the sprint with Erik Zabel second

    > Watch all photos I took on the 20th of July

    Saturday 21 juillet, time trial Albi > Albi

    The day of this time trial the weather wasn't that nice as the days before since we almost only had rain in Albi that day ...

    A time trial stage is always a little bit special since it lasts the whole day, so the Village Départ opens early in the morning and stays open quite late until the last rider leaves.

    Since I was working together with the Caisse d'Epargne team, Marc working for this bank, invited me to follow one of their riders, David Arroyo. He's not their best time trial rider so they told him his goal was to do this time trial without falling (that's quite important with all this rain!) and fortunately he did! Even though the weather wasn't really good it was quite cool to be behind him in this area I know pretty well ...
    21 July 2007 - time trial Albi > Albi : Nicolas Portal warming up and David Arroyo entering Albi

    > Watch all photos I took on the 21st of July

    > Read the next article (last week) ...
    < Check out the post about my second week on the Tour de France 2007
    < Check out the post about my first week on the Tour de France 2007

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Tour de France| Tour de France 2007 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

Comments

Currently 4 comments!
  1. Weer leuk om de derde aflevering van je Tour-belevenissen te lezen en te bekijken. Over je ontmoeting met je zus Meggie en haar vriend Jorg; en dan plots de foto van mezelf en je moeder met Mart Smeets tussen ons in! Het was voor ons een geweldige leuke dag! Zullen we nooit vergeten! Thnx!

    | Tonn Vergouwen | monday 03 September 2007 at 15:26:41

  2. Weer een leuk artikel. Ook ik was aangenaam verrast toen ik over mezelf las en mezelf op de foto's terugzag...
    Daardoor dacht ik er weer wel aan dat ik nog een keer aan je moest vragen of je de foto's die toen zijn gemaakt ook nog even naar mij wilt sturen. Dan zijn mijn vakantiefoto's compleet en ik kan ze af laten drukken!

    | Meggie | monday 03 September 2007 at 18:36:06

  3. Thank you for your comments (several times). I did not notice your comments simply because I did not think that someone would really read my blog.
    Anyway, your site is great!

    | Crow | tuesday 11 September 2007 at 0:31:02

  4. Hi Crow!

    Why would no one read your blog ... It's really cool to see some sort of a diary by a cycling fan (CSC fan actually in your case) who followed the whole Tour de France!

    Give me a yell if you'll follow the Tour de France next year as well (I'll probably be there again :-)!

    Don't hesitate to subscribe to the newsletter of this site to be notified when new photos are added (I still have many of the Tour de France 2007 to add!!)

    Cheers,
    Thomas

    | Thomas Vergouwen | wednesday 12 September 2007 at 22:18:30

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