The funny galley of the Swiss master Caroline Baur, who waited a very long time to be repaired until they risked the deadline (read here), is one example among others, perhaps less significant, but still existing. This Wednesday, during a fourth stage of the Tour de France, as expected as it was feared, as exciting as it was stressful, many competitors were victims of mechanical incidents and/or falls in the various rocky sectors. For this stage, as for all eight race days in the competition, only one sports director’s car is approved per race. keep in line of cars. A choice by ASO to maintain continuity with what is done the rest of the year in the races in the women’s calendar.
Would the teams have wanted a different vehicle in the race? “I understand that there is only one car. The duration of the gravels is not that long. We could have two, but if the field goes smoothly, it is no longer a problem for us to have two cars, more bikes, more staff… The girls may not be ready for that yet, but maybe next year. We have more and more equipment, etc., but at the moment it is easier with a car”Dirk Baldinger, sporting director of the Ceratizit-WNT, decided for DirectVeloat the beginning of this fourth phase. “Having only one car, frankly, is more than enough for us, who are not aiming for the general classification with a leader. In our situation, it is manageable a car for six girls”supports Franck Renimel, Arkéa team technician.
WRENCHES IN YOUR POCKET
Another story from the side of the Uno-X formation and former pro Lars-Ytting Bak. “On a stage like this it can be good to have two cars, but the girls’ stages are short, compared to the men there are no breakaways with big gaps. But yes, it might be nice to have another car at the back of the race if you have girls behind. Some may be dropped from the first sector with 60 kilometers to go, but we accompany our best runners in the sectors”. And then there is no one left, as in the case of Caroline Baur.
“It would be nice to have two cars, but there’s only one per team so far and it’s the same for everyone. You have to adapt to a day like this. But it’s like that all year round, so we used to. We’re dealing with it. It’s up to us to find ways to help the athletes as quickly as possible. Everyone has allen keys in their pocket in case they need them”sums up Nicolas Marche, sporting director of the Le Col-Wahoo team. “I think we’ll soon have two cars in the race, it’s coming, everything is developing as we go”finally summarizes Stéphane Javalet, the manager of St-Michel-Auber 93.
GIRLS INVITED TO… GO
To compensate for this lack of a second car, the teams had planned it by calling on as many people as possible, staff, volunteers – close to the athletes – to help the girls, if necessary, during important parts of the race. “We asked all the people we had here on the routes, we must have nine people on the road, that’s two or three people per stretch. There can be many falls, it becomes nervous to be at the front in the gravel sections. You can’t win the Tour today, but you can lose a lot”, Dirk Baldinger imagined before the scene. Also on the Col-Wahoo side we had put the package. “Between the families and the staff, we have twelve points for supplies and wheels. We have people at the entrances and at the end of the sectors. The families wanted to suit up for the game, it’s great. It calms the girls down”.
“There will be more people than usual, with the parents of Pauline (Allin) and more staff. Those going straight to the hotel are usually in the sectors today. All paths are covered. That’s eight people in the race plus people at the finish .”, explains Franck Renimel for Arkéa. The experienced Lars-Ytting Bak, for his part, had foreseen the situation that the Swiss champion experienced. But what to do? “We have put people in all sectors who want to be volunteers, including me in support, with cans and wheels. There will probably be many punctures, so we have put four or five people in two sectors, and two in the other two. It must be enough, but if you have a puncture at the beginning of the sector, with people located at the end… Too bad, I told them to drive on until the end of the sector. It will be a big job because I think after the first sector there will be runners everywhere. So it will be difficult to go and help”. The Dane had finally summed it all up.