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DAY 15 - The Voiture Balai

Since 2004 Daniel Alain has followed every stage of the Tour de France clocking up more miles than even the most ardent of superfan. Alain is an integral part of the race that no rider wants to acknowledge, and for him at least, he has the best seat in the house. “In the broom wagon we see the race differently. There are two races really. There is the race in front, the race everyone sees on TV. And then there is the race behind. So many things happen behind. We live some amazing moments.” Ref www.pelotonmagazine.com Whilst no longer a Citreon H van, the Voiture Balai was first introduced in the 1910 TDF, not really to help the struggling riders,...

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DAY 14 - Put me back on my bike!

Whilst professional cyclists have almost other-worldly bike-handling skills, crashes are an inevitable feature of their job. What we have seen from watching the Tour de France over the years is just how tough our heros can be. The classic cyclists’ injury is the broken collarbone, the result of the instinctive urge to stretch out an arm to break a fall. The tell tale sign when a cyclist has broken a collar bone is seeing them with their arm folded across their chest and supporting it with their other hand. Tony Martin’s Tour came to an abrupt end this year when he fractured his collar bone after crashing on Stage 6. Bradley Wiggins was also forced to quit the 2011 Tour for...

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Day 13 - Nairo Quintana, our King of the Mountains!

After yesterday's stage on the Tour de France it feels like there is really only 1 person who can challenge Chris Froome’s lead going into the last week of the tour – Nairo Quintana. At just 25 years old, he has already won the Giro Italia, and was runner up in the 2013 tour when he was just 23. It feels inevitable that it is just a matter of time before he wins the Tour de France. Quintana comes from a small village in Colombia, that is 3,000 metres above altitude. He has been a cyclist since he was a small boy, riding the 16km to school and back everyday. It was downhill there, but a climb all the way...

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Day 12 - Who is the devil?? The Tour de France spectators

One of the most iconic images of the Tour de France is the hoards of super fans cheering and running alongside riders as they climbs the mountain roads. The crowds seem to make a wall, which only just parts in time for the riders to make it through. The concentration and patience the riders need to stay calm and not panic amongst the flags and over enthusiastic fans dressed in fancy dress is impressive! Unfortunately the crowds do tend to be the most dangerous part of the Tour de France and we can always remember the time when Lance Armstrong crashed down onto the road having clipped a spectator’s souvenir bag https://youtu.be/sRxGNttpaZA But for the most part, the crowds are...

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DAY 11 - The mighty Col du Tourmalet

Today is one of the must watch stages of the Tour de France.  Starting from Pau the riders will take on the Col d’Aspin and then the mighty Col du Tourmalet, the highest paved mountain in the Pyrenees,  travelling a total of 188 km to an uphill finish at Cauterets. This is the first of the big mountain stages this year and given Chris Froome’s lead over the other contenders it is quite possible that we will see attacks starting on the Col D’Aspin with one or two riders hoping to make up some time on the Col Du Tourmalet. Both of these climbs featured for the first time in the 1910 tour when in that year France’s Gustave Garrigou...

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