Le Tour Diary | Stage 5

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Today I started the next chapter of my Tour de France journey. This morning I left Veeral on his own to navigate the treacherous French countryside by himself so I could join TopBike Tours and get some riding in. Pretending to be a photographer for two days was one of the most challenging and exhilarating things I’ve ever done. Now it’s time for some pampering.

When I have some more free time I’ll try to give you a sense of appreciation for what many of these photographers go through every day to capture the race. The cost, time and effort involved to get a set of good photos each day is extraordinary. These images just magically appear on your computer monitor throughout the various media outlets each morning, but there are dozens of talented people hard at work each day racing around the roads of France gathering these images. Simply being on the road when the riders pass isn’t near good enough. They need to anticipate the correct places for the action at the right times, knock on doors to ask if they can use people’s balconies, negotiate with the Gendarmerie (French National Police) to gain road access, jump ahead of the race via backroads and rush to the next place on the course, and do it all over again. After the race the photographers all rush back to the media center, sort and tag hundreds of photos, post processing, and send them to whoever needs them. It can be 10 or 11pm by this time, and then it’s off to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow.

I had the time of my life doing this for the past couple days, but I gotta be honest – I don’t think I could keep it up for three weeks. Racing the TdF would be an easier gig than these guys have.

Tomorrow is the longest stage (at 226.5km) and begins from the beautiful village of Dinan. It’s hosted the tour 6 times now and is filled with 14th century architecture with it’s city walls and 14 watchtowers. I’ve got to get to bed so I can get an early start to ride there and soak up the startline atmosphere. The roads in the area are very lumpy and it’ll be another exciting stage to watch. The finishing climb is 1.3km long at 6.3%. Another chance for guys like Cadel, Gilbert, Contador, Voeckler, and Vino.

Highlights



Oz Cycling



Photos

courtesy of Veeral Patel and Stefano Sirotti

Stage 5 Profile

Stage 5 Results

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 3:38:32
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
6 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
7 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
9 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo

11 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
14 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek
116 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
119 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling
143 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
153 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad

General Classification after Stage 5

1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 17:36:57
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:01
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:04
4 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:08
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:10
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:10
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:12
8 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:12
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:12
10 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:12

82 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:25
87 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:04:32
90 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:04:54
98 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek 0:06:10
130 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:09:17

Stage 6 Preview

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