2017 Tour de France Report - Froomie Vs Roomie

Kahn Franke - On Tour - Tour of Corsica

Le Tour de France report or Froomie Vs Roomie

While the Tour starts sausage-side tomorrow, we are currently making our way across the south of France, towards the Pyrenees (or cheese-side, if you prefer). I am currently full of foreboding, for as I looked at my feet this morning, I well noticed that my sandals are sun-stencilled on.
It’s not even July.
It’s been hot here in Europe this northern summer. During the Giro none of the peloton had to reach for a rainjacket. On our tour, apart from the odd wipe-down, we didn’t have to clean a bike. And this, from a race, that just three years ago cancelled one stage and re-routed two others, just to keep the riders on the road. All due to excessive snow, sleet and horizontal rain. We finished our Tour of Sardinia last Monday, I think all ten days hit 35’ or more. It was excessive. And while I don’t want to sound like Hanrahan (we’ll all be rooned), I have packed a record amount of sunscreen for July, in France.

Skippy report and 2003 recollections

Nine skinny Australians are lining up to start in Dusseldorf. Not a record, but close. I think 2003 with 11 starters may have been it, although one year we could have had 12. Someone will let me know. Please. Of note, this year we have two team captains, Michael Matthews and Richie Porte. Much better than 2003 when we had none.

Good in a straight line, on the front, on the flat and specifically, time trials. You won’t get a bet on him for tomorrow.

185 Simon CLARKE
Former trackie, good all-rounder. Part of OGE’s TTT win in the 2013 TdF, so also good for the TT, should push Turbo Durbo tomorrow.

136 Adam HANSEN
I raced against him in the Crocodile Trophy in 2003. He beat me. Unlike me, his career seems to have taken the curve up since then. Currently holds the record for most successive Grand Tours, seventeen completed. But I’ve been to more.

He told me in an interview, for Bicycling Australia, at La Vuelta 2003, under a hot Spanish sun, that he was a classics/cobbles man. I remember thinking at the time, it was like interviewing a snow man. Of course he won Paris-Roubaix last year. If only I’d got odds on that in 2003. Good all rounder, and terrific team man. Excellent asset to any squad.

85 Damien HOWSON
This year’s HST winner and another good TT’er. Probably born just before 2003.

141 Michael (Bling) MATTHEWS
Famous, in my books, for being the subject of one of former Vic Junior Coach Dave Sanders lovely quotes. ‘The thing with Bling is that he is almost as good as he thinks he is’. Look for him in the final fifty metres of stage two.

Solid domestique, look for him in the break on stage two.

Best lead out man in the business, just ask Black Cavendish. Wish he was leading out Bling.

41 Richie PORTE
Roomie Vs Froomie.
If anyone can beat Froomie, Richie can. Or can he? Probably won’t win due to the massive amount of expectation. I feel for every poor bastard who ends up in this position. All the best to him, I do hope he wins. His Dauphine effort, on the final stage, was immense.
Of note he is still deserving of an apology from TdF management. Just for the complete cock up on Ventoux last year, which ended up with him running into the back of a motorbike, on a crucial stage.

With all these TT’ers , if we don’t have an Australian in yellow on the first night, like in 2003 when Bradley Wiggins won the prologue, I’ll be wanting to know why. Incidentally, Brad only got the win because David Miller’s chain fell off within sight of the finish line. But hey, who remembers who came second, besides me.

Topbike TdF Climbs

Every year brings something different for us, in terms of involvement with the TdF. For 2017 we’re starting with a French climbs tour – Feast of Ascension - which sees us visiting most of the famous climbs (Tourmalet, Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez, Glandon to name a few) each day, and catching up with Le Tour on the tele, in real time, every afternoon.

For the final half, we'll be chasing the race up to Paris. Love it.

tdf-climbs-2017-topbike-tours-france.jpg TDF 2017 - Ride into Paris

Photo above:
Kahn Franke, on tour, Corsica
Photo below:
Just love this photo of Annabelle, on tour, on Corsica.

Topbike Annabelle Drew - On Tour - Corsica 2017

Kooky groups report

On Corsica, a couple of years back, we came across a motorcycle group. A vintage 50cc motorcycle group, from Provence. We spotted them a few times over a couple of days. Always road side, carrying out repairs on one of their bikes. No surprises there.

Again, on Corsica this year, we were passed by a WWII auto appreciation group. There were motorbikes, sidecar motorbikes, jeeps, an ambulance, et al, all in camo green. It was like the entire Hogans Heroes set was driving past.

Spotted by the roadside today, a mini-moke club. At least 20 of them, on the road to nowhere. Could only be a summer group, surely?

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