Friday Feature: Sheree’s Tour diary

Sheree brings us a pictorial diary from her recent trip to the 100th Tour de France.

The Tour came to me this year, landing in Nice for the team time trial after three stages on the idyllic island of Corsica. However, I was working all day on my friends’ stand selling the G4 Eurosport Centenary Collection to the many tourists in town for the Tour. Luckily one of my friends was happy to share a few of his photographs.

Tuesday: Stage 4 – team time trial, 25km around Nice

This is how it’s done!

Sky, beautifully in line (image: Claude Giacomazzo)

Sky, beautifully in line (Image: Claude Giacomazzo)

Astana decked out in turquoise skinsuts (image: Claude Giacomazzo)

Astana decked out in turquoise skinsuts (Image: Claude Giacomazzo)

Wednesday: Stage 5 – Cagnes sur Mer to Marseille, 228.5km

The stage started in my home town and literally went past my front door! Well, okay, just the driveway leading to the Domaine but you get the picture. Luckily I had my in-house photographer on hand to take a few photos as I spent most of the morning in the village du départ.

Saw this and thought of Miss Kitty (image: Richard Whatley)

Saw this and thought of Kitty (Image: Richard Whatley)

Sadly I never picked up any freebies from Haribo this year. My favourites are the Gummi Bears!

Depart fictif - a quick parade around the town (image: Richard Whatley)

Depart fictif – a quick parade around the town (Image: Richard Whatley)

A ready quip and smile between rivals Alberto Contador and Chris Froome (image: Richard Whatley)

A ready quip and smile between rivals Chris Froome and Alberto Contador (Image: Richard Whatley)

Tony Martin still bearing the badge of his stage one fall (image: Richard Whatley)

Tony Martin still bearing the badge of his stage one fall (Image: Richard Whatley)

While my husband was merrily snapping away at the peloton I was playing hide-and-seek with one of my little friends who had aped his father, a professional rider with BMC, by winning a maillot à pois. I think he’s trying to do his best impression of last year’s jersey winner!

Looking cute in spots! A case of like father like son (image: Sheree)

Looking cute in spots! A case of like father like son (Image: Sheree)

Thursday: Stage 6 – Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier, 176.5km

Stage six united two of my favourite southern towns where the fabulous weather continued and I spent most of my time desperately seeking some shade while aiming the camera lens at the peloton. Typically the village du départ plays host to sponsors’ guests, the great and the good of the departure town, riders’ families and showcases both regional and sponsors’ produce.

The Izagirre brothers showing off their cyclo-cross skills n the Village du Depart (image: Sheree)

The Izagirre brothers showing off their cyclo-cross skills in the village du depart (Image: Sheree)

FDJ's Alexandre Geniez having a wee degustation before the stage start (image: Sheree)

FDJ’s Alexandre Geniez having a wee degustation before the stage start (Image: Sheree)

Newly crowned French national champion - surely the best kit - Arthur Vichot (image: Sheree)

Newly crowned French national champion – surely the best kit ever? – Arthur Vichot (Image: Sheree)

I want to ask Marcel how long it takes to get his hair looking that magnificent! (image:Sheree)

I want to ask Marcel how long it takes to get his hair looking that magnificent! (Image: Sheree)

Matt Goss with team mate Stuart O'Grady who's surely risking burnt brains (image: Sheree)

Matt Goss with teammate Stuart O’Grady, who’s surely risking burnt brains (Image: Sheree)

Jeremy "it's not a break if I'm not in it" Roy has been relatively quiet thus far (image: Sheree)

Jeremy ‘it’s not a break if I’m not in it’ Roy has been relatively quiet thus far (Image: Sheree)

Johnny "Hard Man" Hoogerland already in the wars (image: Sheree)

Johnny ‘Hard Man’ Hoogerland already in the wars (Image: Sheree)

Friday: Stage 7 – Montpellier to Albi, 205.5km

La belle ville de Montpellier (image: Sheree)

La belle ville de Montpellier (Image: Sheree)

I imagine that Yukiya Arashiro was explaining to France television that not only had he won his national championship but he’d been voted VeloVoices rider for the month of June beating off illustrious competition such as Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish. I do hope he’s remembered to tell Daniel Mangeas, the voice of cycling in France, who’ll be able to mention it each time he signs in at the stage start.

VeloVoices rider for the month of June, Yukiya Arashiro (image:Sheree)

VeloVoices rider for the month of June, Yukiya Arashiro (Image: Sheree)

Woman of all fall victim to the charms of Manuel Quinziato (image: Sheree)

Women of all ages fall victim to the charms of Manuel Quinziato (Image: Sheree)

This lucky lady spends the month of July on the back of a powerful motorbike brandishing a blackboard showing the time gaps to the breaks.

Miss Blackboard Claire Pedrono (image: Sheree)

Miss Blackboard, Claire Pedrono (Image: Sheree)

The best facial hair in the Tour and man of much wit and humour – follow him on Twitter @brianholm1962.

The legend that is Brian Holm (image: Sheree)

The legend that is Brian Holm (Image: Sheree)

Cadel enjoying himself (image: Sheree)

Cadel enjoying himself amid cheers from spectators (Image: Sheree)

Nairo Quintano who's about half the size of Marcel Kittel (image: Sheree)

Nairo Quintana, who’s about half the size of Marcel Kittel (Image: Sheree)

Saturday: Stage 8 – Castres to Ax 3 Domaines, 195km

Ah, another cooling fountain tempting me to dangle my feet in its chilly, restorative waters. I resist temptation in the Castres village du départ bordered by the Theatre, Town Hall and Goya museum.

Village du Depart, Castres (image: Sheree)

Village du depart, Castres (Image: Sheree)

Never, ever leave your bike unattended for a moment!

Would I be able to beat Froome on this I wonder? (image Sheree)

Would I be able to beat Froome on this, I wonder? (Image: Sheree)

Andre "Gorilla" Greipel signing autographs (image: Sheree)

Andre “Gorilla” Greipel signing autographs (Image: Sheree)

One for Tim #mancrush, a rare sighting of Cav (image: Sheree)

One for Tim #mancrush, a rare sighting of Cav (Image: Sheree)

When it’s hot, the riders tend to remain as long as possible in the air-conditioned coolness of their team buses before heading at the last moment for the sign-in and stage start. The bigger names tend to be surrounded by a phalanx of minders, making it more difficult to take their photographs.

Quick interview before the start with BMC Amael Moinard (image: Sheree)

Quick interview before the start with BMC’s Amael Moinard (image: Sheree)

In 2010 Blel Kadri (Ag2r) had won from the day’s breakaway atop Ax 3 Domaines. Amael Moinard, then riding for Cofidis, had also been in the break.

Alejandro Valverde enjoying the lack pf attention on French soil (image: Sheree)

Alejandro Valverde enjoying the lack of attention on French soil (Image: Sheree)

It's Fast PhilGil, that white kit showcases his fab tan (image: sheree)

It’s Fast PhilGil – that white kit showcases his fab tan (Image: Sheree)

A star of the future U23 champion, Alexey Lutsenko (image: Sheree)

A star of the future, U23 world champion Alexey Lutsenko (Image: Sheree)

Last, but not least, the yellow jersey Darryl Impey (image: Sheree)

Last, but not least, the yellow jersey Daryl Impey (Image: Sheree)

These won’t be the last of our Tour photos. Panache will be in the Alps and Paris. Kitty and Ant will also be in Paris – cue fireworks!

 

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