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July 16/05 10:07 am - Redden Report from TDF


Posted by Editoress on 07/16/05
 

Photographer Chris Redden is back at the Tour again this year, and here are his impressions from his first day at the 2005 Tour.


Stage 13 Photos

I thought I should spend today talking about how the Tour works for a Journalist.

As a Journalist covering the Tour you receive two essential tools. One is your accreditation, and the other is the race bible, also know as the Tour Handbook.

The accreditation is straightforward. It spells out who you are and where you are allowed to go. It features your picture on the front and what your function with the Tour is. As Press we are allowed to go into the press centre as well as the Start Village, the start line and the area after the finish.

The Press Centre is a giant room usually set up in a school gymnasium or sports arena that houses the thousand or so press that are covering the event. They provide TV coverage of the race, so you can see what is happening in the race. They also provide glamorous things like water and if you are extra lucky, a ham sandwich after the race is done.

The Start Village warrants a whole days topic, because it is pretty interesting. More on that to follow.

The start line is what you can imagine. For the most part, all of the riders line up on the start line in no particular order, except for the jersey winners. The 4 jersey winners are supposed to line up at the front of the pack for official pictures and such, but Lance has actually been rolling up to the back of the pack as they are starting. I think it is to avoid the media crush.

The finish line is again, what it says, except you have all types of media there who are all fighting for a view of the winners. I can’t tell you how many times that I have been run over by the TV guys in search of a bit of video!

The Tour Handbook is an indispensable item that all Tour people use. It sits in the front of every vehicle and tells you everything that you need to know about how to get to the stage start and finish.

Every stage is spelled out in detail. The exact way to get to the start all the way to when the caravan and racers will be at any point on the coarse. Fantastic! They also lay out an alternate route on how to get from the start to the finish. While it is cool to drive the racecourse, it can be a drag driving 30 km an hour all day long. So to alleviate this, us press and others have a quick way to bypass the course and get to the finish in time to see the finish.

It also tells you what vehicles are allowed on course, what all the different passes look like and what access they allow, and how to drive in the peleton. What a great book!!

I guess there is one last thing that makes getting around is, the vehicle pass. It is amazing to get waved through all of the Police checkpoints due to a set of stickers on your car. This is controlled to a huge extent, but if you have access, it is amazing to get to the places that we get to, to do our job.

On that note, I am off for another day.
Don’t worry, I’ll have a glass of red wine for you too!

 


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