Those of you who watch the live coverage of the Tour long enough to see the podium presentations will have noticed (if you’ve been looking closely enough) that a rider gets onto the podium, too, when the Skoda girls are on the stage. Pez got to chat to one of the beautiful ladies handing over the best young rider’s white jersey...
Roadside Recap: As we make our merry way through the rounds of the PEZ Looks Back, Ed is up for his retrospective on the Tour that was. As the ever discerning journalist, Ed's recollections aren't all of the positive sort, but worry not, the positives (not those positives) heavily outweigh any low points. Ready? Let's go.
Roadside Wrap: That's Post Grand Tour Stress Disorder. The Champs Elysйes stage of le Tour is the climax, the culmination of a near month long adventure around Europe. The riders and staff have a huge party in the plush Meridien Hotel; whilst the journos slip into the lift down to underground car park and realise that they can't put off gutting out the hire car any longer.
Roadside Wrap: My second big adventure on the Tour, my second year behind the scenes riding the maddest, scariest, most thrilling rollercoaster in the sports world. With a brief to go and speak to the people beside, inside and chasing the race, to hunt out the weird and the wonderful, here are a few of the things that struck me along the way...
Roadside St.21: Ed and Martin have been hard at work for over a week now. They've logged thousands of kilometers behind the wheel, spent countless hours working, and finally, on the last day, they have but one wish: to be fans. That’s what we’re going to be today, we’ve been hacks for nine stages – time for a change.
Insight St.20: Looking at the route of the 2009 Tour de France when it was released last fall, everyone involved in Lance Armstrong’s comeback knew that Mont Ventoux would be one of the race’s main battlegrounds. The Tour de France is always won by the strongest rider in the race, but with the configuration of the final week this year, it was clear that gaining climbing power was a top priority for Lance’s Tour preparation.
Roadside St.19: "Baroudeur" according to my Collins French dictionary (in colour), there's no such word. The Baroudeur stages are those which are too tough to be called 'sprinter' stages but not tough enough to be called 'mountain' stages. They suit the hard men; riders who will plug away for hours under a baking sun or through the rain, with half a dozen kindred spirits for the chance of a stage win.
Insight St.19: Nineteen down, two to go. And of the two stages remaining in the 2009 Tour de France, it’s tomorrow’s race to the top of Mont Ventoux that is likely to decide the composition of the final podium in Paris. Alberto Contador’s position in the yellow jersey is secure – barring incident or injury – but the second and third steps of the final podium are very much in play.
Roadside St.18: One lap of beautiful Lac Annecy on a bicycle; a great couple of hours fun - or 50 minutes of pain? Today it's the latter: stage 18 of the 2009 Tour de France and a chance for Wiggins to claw back lost time; or will Alberto morph from Prince to King, today? Within the next few hours we'll know.