Stage 21: Versailles to Paris, 133.5km, flat
This stage is always special but this year’s final stage is even more so. Going through the courtyard of the Louvre, past its famous glass pyramid, then down the Champs and around the Arc de Triomphe ten times, this short stage will be held at dusk for a floodlit finish.
I’ve had an open invitation to visit Astana’s service course for some time but, with the Tour de France looming, I thought it might be interesting to visit and see how the team organises itself ahead of such a mammoth undertaking. It might be fair to say that I was a bit like a kid in a candy shop and was guided round the pick-and-mix by the man in charge. Maxim Gourov, a former professional rider with Astana and 2010 Kazakh national road race champion. Continue reading
One of our local sports journalists, Romain Laronche from Nice-Matin, asked me if I’d be willing to lend him a hand this week. I readily agreed and, as a consequence, he’s kindly given me access to the transcripts of the interviews I attended with him. Here’s the first one with Alexandre Vinokourov, general manager of Astana, who’s literally looking pretty in pink after his team and Vincenzo Nibali‘s domination of the Giro d’Italia. The interview was conducted in French and then translated by me into English. Continue reading