There was a time when a departure lay out such as this morning’s would have sent me into an anxious panic. Ack! The road is shaped like an L and there is a double fence in front of me; how will I ever get any autographs?! Will the peloton even know I’m cheering for them??
But that was back in my youth (when I was a mere 32). Today I am older and wiser and calmer, so I decided to watch the first few riders sign on to get a sense of the flow and then try my luck wandering over to the buses in case the sign on podium seemed a bit too distant. If all else failed, at least I’d be able to grab a spot on the road and watch the peloton roll out. I headed over to the fenced off buses to see what was going on. By pure chance I saw a friend who works for a team and after a quick chat, one of his colleagues generously gave me passes to enter the bus/VIP area. Wahoo!
Anthony Delaplace and team leader Eduardo Sepulveda.
Dylan Van Baarle.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck.
Angel Vicioso’s bike prepped for the first stage of the year to venture into the mountains.
Katusha’s Canyon bikes.
Julian Alaphilippe and Dan Martin greet the press at the Etixx-Quick Step bus.
Guess which Cervélo belongs to Norwegian road champion Edvald Boasson Hagen.
UCI officials inspect the bikes for hidden motors. The governing body plans to execute thousands of inspections during the race this year.
Sprinter Michael Matthews has yet to factor in any of the sprint stages.
Keeping the drinks fresh and cold for the Lampre Merida riders.
Cesare Benedetti digs around in the team car.
Direct Energie’s BHs lined up and ready to go.
Tour veteran Markel Irizar.
Jasper Stuyven is enjoying a successful season with a win at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this spring, a strong showing in an earlier breakaway, and leading the KOM competition for the first few stages.
Fan and media favorite Adam Hansen.
In a new design change to the sign on podium this year, the back is open as George Bennett and his Lotto Jumbo teammates prepare to receive their award for the best team on stage 4.
Populated mostly by corporate sponsors, people in the village often fail to notice riders or are unfamiliar with the riders.
A quiet moment for a cold drink for Georg Preidler.
Luka Pibernik talks with Bora Argon staff.
Samuel Dumoulin and Ben Gastauer.
Luis Leon Sanchez.
Matteo Tosatto eyes the road to the sign on podium.
Romain Bardet trains on these roads.
Cav and Bernie.
One hundred ninety-eight riders paraded through the streets of Limoges on their way to the official start. Rarely do all of the riders make it through the first four stages without a single abandonment.
Laurens Ten Dam.