Sunday, July 04, 2004

Tour blog 2

Allez le grand depart. Yes, today the Tour de Tour finally kicked off from downtown Liège with a 6.1 km time trial against the prologue. Er, clock. Wind. And stuff.

Anyway, after a truly sumptuous breakfast in our chic Hotel Metropole (right opposite Liège Guillemins station - you can't miss it although you might want to), we headed off to le press room to mingle with les autre journalistes. See I'm quite getting the hang of this French lingo. I reckon I'll have it down fluent like in the next few days.

The first test of my new found French skills was le conference du press on le measures anti-dopage given by five of le big Tour bosses. I conclude that my French needs a little more work, but you can read about le test on Cyclingnews if you so desire. It's cool that the Aussie blood test finally got accepted after four years. This could be interesting.

Matt White crashed before the start! The boy is seemingly not destined to ride Le Tour.

I moseyed on down to the actual race about 4pm to have a bit of a look and do some stuff, and I met Kim from Helmond (literally) and caught up with all the goss after a year and a half. Thanks for the bikkies! Then I just soaked up l'ambience and took a few happy snaps for le reportage live. I'd only worked out how to do that less than an hour previous, so I was quite impressed when it actually worked.

The next six hours passed rather quickly. Dunno why. Did some work and stuff and met a few new people. Lotta Anglos on Tour this year which is rather good.

So FABIAN (nice kid) won the prologue! Nice going dude. He was the only guy we got a quote from yesterday so I feel vindicated. Allez Brad wasn't quite up to it but he reckoned it's because he's thinned down a bit. Good thing too, as he's such a lard arse. And Lance showed them all by finishing second - he's got his racing legs on again and he's going to be bloody hard to beat this year. But it's won in the third week. We shall see.

Finished off with a very late dinner in the same restauraaaaaaaaant as we went to last night. This time we had the photogs with us, Jon Devich and Casey B. Gibson and the Sunshine Band. That was quite fun actually. It's very good, not so expensive and they (meaning le management) are nice and friendly. Even offered us a drinkypoo on the house but it was apres midnight and nous sommes pooped. Then it was back to our low joint opposite le gare. Oohlala. Quelle bon etablissement.

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