Posted by Editoress on 07/18/05
Photographer Chris Redden is back at the Tour again this year, and here are his impressions from his first day at the 2005 Tour.
The Village is a part of the Tour that few people will experience, as you need a special pass to get in. Consider this your backstage view of what goes on there.
The Village is an area that is set up at the start of every stage. It is a place that is filled with booths and entertainment for the riders to hang out at and VIPs to do whatever VIPs like to do.
As Press we have access to this area. Presumably, so we can mingle with the important people and report on them. The booths are set up by some of the Tour sponsors as well as team sponsors in the Village area. The Team booths give riders somewhere to go before the race that they can sit and have a drink, read a paper or make a phone call depending on the booth. The VIPs use the booths to meet, have a drink, lounge or mingle with the riders. There are booths by Nike, Champion (a grocery store), Skoda, Nestle, Minolta, French Telecom, CSC, FD Jeux, Credit Lyonnais, and several others.
I spoke to someone who works in the Skoda (European Car Company which sponsors the White Jersey and are used by the Tour Officials) booth, and she told me that she has to be there to set up the booth an hour before the Village opens. Today it opened at 7:30. With the Mountain stages they start the race much earlier than the flatter days, so everyday is different for them. She spends her day handing out hats, giving drinks and providing good cheer to the people who come to the booth. If you happen to be a Skoda VIP you will also get a nice bag of gifts as well. Unfortunately I am apparently not a Skoda VIP!
The Village also provides an opportunity for other things as well. You can get a haircut (free of course), a snack of local foods, a newspaper, or a drink. All are very nice ways to spend some pre-race time.
Nothing very unique about the Village I guess, but it is a nice place to go and escape the crowds for a little while.
Trek did something interesting for Lance today; they have a series of icons on his bike that tell a story. Today's story is from his upbringing to the 99 Tour. Each icon tells part of the story.
1st is a trailer, as in his white trash upbringing
2nd is Texas, where he grew up
3rd is Cancer
4th is Chemo
5th is Angry, as in getting angry and beating the cancer
6th is Paris for the 99 Tour.
Of course the 10/2 is the name of his clothing line and the date he was diagnosed with cancer.
Every day will have a new series of icons (except for tomorrow - the rest day) to tell his story of every Tour he won.
For the rest of us mortals this same idea will be available to us on Trek Project One bikes, so we can tell our own stories!
You also may have noticed Lance and a few other riders had a white armband on today. This is for the memory of Fabio Casartelli who died while racing the Tour and racing on Lance's team.
While we are talking about Discovery it is amazing to see the Team win the stage, and have both the Yellow and White jerseys. I think they will have some celebrations tonight!
Tomorrow is a rest day, so most riders will be doing a ride and resting and even a few will be doing a press conference.
I think I may check out the beach tomorrow to tan my northern complexion.
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