Category Archives: Besides The Saddle

Bonjour! It Is Le Tour In Photos (3)


Bonjour! It is hard to believe that the last week of the Tour de France is already taking place as we speak. Those weeks fly by in no time. By now, the riders are suffering in the Alps, but luckily for them there are only a couple of days left now. And the second rest day did most of the riders good. It is like they are all fresh and new again.

Every day, the riders are sitting in the bus on their way to the start of another stage. It is up to the riders what they do in the bus to entertain themselves. Luke Rowe (SKY) has no problems with that, it turns out that he is an excellent fidget spinner.

On the second rest day the boys of Astana went for a ride together. But they also need to drink, so during the training they stopped for a cup of coffee.

It seems that the boys of Bora-Hansgrohe could not find a café or restaurant for a cup of coffee, so they stopped alongside the road to take a break during their training.
 

The riders from UAE Abu Dhabi did find a little café during their ride, but it seems that most riders here are taking a refreshing drink rather than a cup of coffee. Louis Meintjes seems to be the only one drinking coffee.

Now this is what I call sight-seeing! The boys of Cannondale – Drapac do not care about coffee at all on their rest day, they thought it would be nice to explore the small roads around their hotel. And look where it brought them. So pretty!

Still, after another rest day it was time for the last couple of stages. A few big mountains in the Alps were waiting for the riders. It was hard, but the smile on the face of Brice Feillu (FVC) says it all: the mountains are tough, but awesome. 

Bonjour! It Is Le Tour In Photos (2)

Bonjour! The first week of the Tour de France is already over and the riders are on their way to the Pyrenees. Although some people call the first week boring, we can all conclude that Marcel Kittel is the fastest guy in the sprints. In the mountains there is nothing decided yet. We saw some nasty crashes, but also some beautiful wins by a few young riders. The photos will tell it all.

Last Saturday it was Lilian Calmejane (DEN) who won the mountain stage in the Alps. He came solo over the finish and at the dinner table he celebrated the win with his teammates. Some of them were even more excited than Calmejane himself.

This is not how Marcel Kittel looks after a sprint stage. This is how he looks after one of the hardest mountain stages in this year’s Tour de France. Sweaty, tired and in need of a good drink. And take a look at his hair too…

Team Cannondale – Drapac ‘hopped’ happy on the flight to the other part of France, because their rider Rigoberto Uran was the winner of Sunday’s stage. It was a close sprint and at first Warren Barguil was pronounced as the winner, but not much later the organisation announced that it was Uran after all.

This does not look as a proper ‘Tour de France’ breakfast. You won’t get over the mountains with a breakfast like this. It is the breakfast of Richie Porte (BMC), who did not wake up in a hotel, but in a hospital. He made a nasty crash on one of the descents and ended up in hospital with a lot of injuries.

A week of full gas on the roads of France and no flat tires. Maurits Lammertink (KAT) got lucky  in the first week of the Tour, but when he went out on a bike ride on the rest day, he got a flat tire. At least he has time to fix it himself now.

André ‘the Gorilla’ Greipel (LTS) was tired after the first week in the Tour and he chose to sleep a lot on the first rest day. He is saving energy for the next sprint stages, but it will be hard to beat Marcel Kittel.

Bonjour! It Is Le Tour In Photos (1)

Bonjour! Here we are again, another year gone. The Tour de France has just begun and the riders entered France today. The race started in Germany, where thousands of people came out and cheered for the riders. Last Thursday, the riders were presented and on that day the biggest circus of the whole cycling year officially began. Three weeks Le Tour de France. Three weeks in photos.


These are the riders from Team Movistar. They are ready for another Tour de France. But first they have to present themselves to the German crowd. Hola!


Bauke Mollema from Team Trek – Segafredo tried to make a selfie with his team just before the team presentation, but it was teammate Koen ‘rockstar’ de Kort who stole the show in this picture.


While waiting for the team presentation Esteban Chaves from Orica-Scott thought about some new goals to achieve in this year’s Tour de France. Although no one is really expecting that he will make that goal…


The riders of Cofidis are ready for another Tour de France. The team received a wildcard again and with sprinter Nacer Bouhanni they hope for a win in one of the sprint stages.


Roy Curvers from Team Sunweb just before the team presentation. There is no way back now. Three weeks of sprints, rain, crashes, bad days, climbs and hopefully some good days for his team.


Meet the oldies of the Tour de France.  Daryl Impey (on the left) is ‘just’ 32, but Mathew Hayman is one of the oldest riders participating in the Tour the France this year. He is 39 and with all his experience he will be of good help for the young boys in his team Orica-Scott.


Michal Kwiatkowski thinks he can beat his teammate Chris Froome. He will be faster in the sprints, but I am not so sure about the climbs. He will definitely not beat him there.


Simon Yates has some news for us. He thinks that he can run faster than Chris Froome. Who does not remember the running of Froome in the Tour of last year? Lets all hope that none of the riders has to run on the climbs, because that was one of the most awkward moments in the history of the Tour de France.


Before the race starts, every rider gets his own number. Simon Clarke from Cannondale – Drapac is showing his numbers and seems pleased with it.


The race took off on the first of July. The Tour started with a time trial around Düsseldorf. It is the first Tour de France for Thomas Boudat. He is only 23 years old, but the team management of Direct Energie decided to let him start the biggest race of the season. He is very talented and also very excited.


This is another great story. Taylor Phinney crashed hard in the year 2014, recovered and is now riding his first Tour de France. With already a great time trial (12th place) on the first day, he went in the breakaway in the second stage and scored enough points for the polkadot jersey.


He took too many risks, Alejandro Valverde. The time trial was ridden in the rain and the roads were wet. In a corner he crashed hard and in a split second the Tour de France was over and out. No podium chances for Valverde this year and a long recovery ahead. At least he can still smile in his hospital bed.


The team Wanty-Groupe Gobert also received a wildcard for this year’s Tour de France. After the third stage they were the best overall team. They were all happy with the cute cows and were glad that these cuddle toys are present again this year.

The Road To Düsseldorf

In the year 2008 German television dropped the live coverage of the Tour de France. There were too many doping scandals and the German broadcasters thought it was the right thing to do. German rider Erik Zabel had announced the year before that he used doping during his career and in 2008 Bernhard Kohl and Stefan Schumacher both tested positive. In 2011 the decision was made to not broadcast any footage of the Tour de France anymore.

However, German riders were doing quite well in the Tour de France after 2011. There were three stage wins for Andre Greipel in 2012 and in the year 2013 there were four stage wins for Marcel Kittel, one for Greipel and one for Tony Martin. In 2014 there were four stage wins for Kittel, two for Tony Martin and one for Greipel. The public television broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, started to doubt their decision. These riders stated that they were racing without doping and would do anything to make cycling attractive again for the people in Germany. In 2015, the German broadcasters announced that they would be present at the Tour de France and even start to broadcast live again.

At this point there are hardly any professional cycling races in Germany. One of the biggest races of the country, the Deutschland Tour, got cancelled in 2008 due to the many doping scandals in Germany. It is strange to note that in one of the largest countries of Europe there are practically no WorldTour races. In a country with beautiful flat areas, great rivers, historical cities and wonderful high mountains. Hosting a cycing race in Germany would not only be good for cycling itself, but even better for the German tourist industry.

A change has come since last year. The German Cycling Federation (BRD) and the ASO are working together since 2016 in order to promote cycling in Germany. In a statement they released, it was said that they have signed “a long-term agreement to revive the Deutschland Tour and establish it as a top event over a ten-year horizon. Both partners are aiming to put the Deutschland Tour back on the calendar over the coming two years, as soon as all the key assets for a great stage race and a top-notch organisation are put in place.”

With new German sponsors entering the cycling world (Bora, Alpecin) in the last couple of years, it was only a matter of time until it was announced that the Tour de France would take off in Germany in 2017. Although many expected that the city of Berlin would host the Grand Depart, it was the industrial city Düsseldorf that made the right bet at the right time. The riders will start on Saturday with a time trial, a day later the riders will leave Germany and make their way from Düsseldorf to Liège. The hosting of the Tour de France this year is the first step to the goal of the ASO and the BRD to make cycling huge again in Germany. For the German people, the start of the Tour de France is not only just a couple of ‘cycling days’, it is a celebration of the re-birth of cycling in Germany.

It Is Not All About Racing

Some say it was ‘the tweet of the week’. Some don’t even know if it was real or not. But the tweet of Luke Rowe about his teammate Gianni Moscon was the tweet that everyone talked about in the cycling world. After a crash in Gent-Wevelgem Moscon fell on his knees and when he looked up there was a mysterious woman standing there. This was all on television and Luke Rowe decided to make a still of it and post it on Twitter.

Hilarious, right? While thinking about it, you realise that there is so much fun in the peloton but that we pay less attention to this side of the riders. Most of the time it is all about preparation, time schedules, resting or eating. But over the years I have found some great, hilarious moments in the cycling world.

Last year in the Vuelta, Magnus Cort Nielsen fell asleep in the bus on the way to the start of the fifth stage. And Esteban Chaves noticed it and could not resist to take a photo of this moment. Isn’t he the cutest thing when he sleeps?

At Team Sky they also like to play with socks. And give them eyes. And make them talk. Well, at leat they did this in 2012 and Thomas Lövkvist was good at it.

In 2014 taking selfies was a great thing to do. Kevin Reza knew this and thought it was hilarious to take selfies with all of his teammates. We all know who has the biggest smile in all of these photos!

On a sunny day a couple of years ago Ramunas Navardauskas thought: “I’m just going to lay myself down in the grass, because it feels so comfortable. We like to call it ‘grass-hugging’.

So you end up on the podium in the Tour de France of 2014 and what do your teammates do? They just throw you into the water. Wet Thibaut Pinot…

He loves to take a challenge. Bram Tankink tries to eat a mega burger, but it seems that it does not fit in his mouth. Hilarious moment, though.

Ice cream!!! John Degenkolb loves it so much, that he doesn’t even has time to smile to the camera.

Hopefully we will see more hilarious moments in 2017.

Tour Life (4)


The Tour de France is done and dusted. Chris Froome is the winner of the Tour de France. That is just one story. There were 197 other stories in the Tour de France. We can’t hear them all, but through social media we see a little bit of the life of the riders in the Tour de France. So here is one more update.

4 Swimming pool

John Degenkolb and Roy Curvers from Team Giant-Alpecin had plenty of time on the day of the second time trial.  They had an early start and spent the rest of the afternoon in the swimming pool. That is one way to recover.

4 Bryan Coquard last mountain

Bryan Coquard and Adrien Petit (DEN) were happy, because there was only one mountain stage to go. And after that there was the last day to Paris. But, lucky for them, there are no mountains in Paris.

4 Davide Cimolai three weeks doing this

Davide Cimolai from Lampre-Merida putting his numbers on his shirt for the last mountain stage. One of the rituals in the team bus every morning.

4 Michael Schar Damiano Caruso warm up

There are two different ways to do a warming up before a mountain stage. You can either climb on your bike like Michael Schär did, or you can just sit down and relax. That is exactly what Damiano Caruso did and I don’t blame him.

4 Ramunas Navardauskas barber

Yes, you can get your hair done in the Tour de France. There is a real barbershop where the riders can go before every stage. Ramunas Navardauskas (CPT) thought that it was a great idea to go there. Because you have to look good in the mountains.

Nelson Oliviera Movistar barbershop stage 6

See, no joke! Even Nelson Oliveira from Movistar went there. And doesn’t he look nice? With all the beards and long hair in the peloton these days, it was not a bad idea to open up a barbershop for the riders.

4 chris froome little guy

Still, there is no place like home. After three weeks of cycling around France most of the riders want to go home to their families and friends (vacation is number three on the list). This little fellow can’t wait to see his dad again. His dad? That guy on the podium wearing the yellow jersey. Indeed, Chris Froome.

4 Armindo Fonseca

Finally, a real teamselfie! These guys started the Tour de France with nine riders and they end it with nine riders. That is quite impressive. Team Fortuneo – Vital Concept goes home with no victory, but they sure had a good time.