CLEAN
16
Emotions
and behind the
scenes of
the Tour de France
↥ GEAR

With the amount of gear used by a team during a Grand Tour, there has to be a lot of organization with regards to cleaning it.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ PACK

As a cyclist, you have definitely experienced a sportive week with your friends. Generally, you come to these weeks prepared with all the essentials, include the dreaded, “well if it’s cold and rainy, at least I’ll have these” rain jacket and cold weather gloves. You’ve also experienced the need for a clean kit after long days in the saddle. Late night washing sessions to ensure a nice smelling bit of clothing to wear the next day- all part of the routine, and during the Tour, this is one important routine.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

 

↥ FRESH

Whether racing a grand tour for three weeks, or just riding day in and day out on your local roads, there are similar requirements and problems that can emerge. Riders need their racing kits, rain jackets, helmets and shoes etc. clean every morning. When you’ve already got tired legs, the last thing you want is to wear a used kit that is still covered in the day prior’s sweat.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ ONE STOP SHOP

Team trucks really do have everything that you need. IAM’s truck is a one stop shop for kit cleaning.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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Fully equipped with clothes lines and ventilation, this space is perhaps one of the more crucial on the truck.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ DIRTY LAUNDRY

Team buses and mechanical trucks carry their own washing and drying machines. Each rider has a personalized mesh bag with his name written on it and after each day, they drop their goods into the washing machine and let the magic happen. Or at least the soigneurs take care of this task before going to the dinner.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ HAND WASHED

Other products, however, receive special treatment.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ TLC

Harder equipment such as shoes and helmets receive different treatment- they are carefully washed by hand to make sure that they shine under the spot lights for each start. They are always impeccably presented, along with the rest of the kit in order to keep the sponsors happy.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ CHOICE

As we have seen through out the tour, the helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipemtnt that riders have. ORICA-GreenEdge has a few to choose from. Note the National Championship designs for Svein Tuft and Simon Gerrans for Canada and Australia respectively. Every rider has their preference, and can ideally choose between helmets depending on the stage profile.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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↥ CLIMB

Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ PERFECTION

It is very clear that in order to win the Tour de France, or any grand tour for that matter, you need to be able to manage the climbs and to do so well. Frankly, you just have to be an excellent climber. You have to be able to make some pace changes to break down the legs of your competitors or inversely to be able to react to these moves from your competitors.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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Photo: Kristof Ramon

↥ RECON

Mountain passes are not something you attack blindly. For these guys, recon is very important. Most of the teams with a viable GC contender spent a few days in each climb and pass ahead of the la Grand Boucle. It helps them learn how to decipher the stage, and to learn which sections will allow them a much needed rest, which sections are likely to contain attacks etc… Ultimately, knowing the stage ahead of time gives them much more confidence.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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When climbing over a pass, you can’t be going full gas the whole time- you need some moments to rest. If you don’t, the warm weather can do its part in you overheating and really taking the power out of your legs which in turn will have a terrible effect on your average speed.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ MENTAL

Mentally, taking a “rest” is a good idea. Getting your head straight for those moments when you need to kick it into high gear is crucial. You need to not only be able to act on a moment’s notice, but also to react.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ DENT

Thibaut Pinot took his chance and passed the Port de Balès a few creating a gap against one of his main rivals for the white jersey and also made a dent in the final GC ranking, climbing at the same time onto the 3rd place of the podium. What a talent for only a 24 year old athlete.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

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