It’ll be my seventh Tour de France this year. That’s something I am really proud of. This event is the highlight of any season in pro cycling. Therefore the demands we place on ourselves and those from outside are all the more intense. From the point of view of the media the Tour is still one of the biggest 3 sporting events there is and it attracts millions of TV viewers, but also spectators on the route. It’s a mega show we are taking part in that has a different script every year
In this event neither the team managers nor the sporting directors or riders leave anything to chance. Everything is thought out and planned well in advance and we also have the best equipment available to us. Every year technical innovations appear which are designed to be just 0,005 kilometres per hour faster than the competition.
The stage routes are also looked at closely during the preparation phase. Jurgen Van den Broeck, for example, rode the mountain stages in the Pyrenees and the Alps for training in order to get a better impression of what to expect. Meticulous preparation for every eventuality is an important key to success. How well do you know the route? How well do you know your rivals? How do you make the best possible use of your own team? This is the reason why we and so many other teams spent three entire days checking out the routes of Saturday’s and Sunday’s stage.
Today, Friday 1st July was a kind of dress rehearsal for the first stage. As a team we rode the final few kilometres of the opening stage and discussed at length tactics and what would be the best line to take in a sprint finish. Every rider now knows the challenges and dangers we’ll be faced with tomorrow. It’s a finish that will be well suited to our Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert. However, it’s necessary to point out right from the outset that the competition on the ‘big loop’ is extremely tough and as we all know, despite the great preparation when the real thing actually starts things can always go wrong. We are therefore awaiting the start with both great excitement and inner uneasiness.
Whilst our top sprinter André Greipel will be ridng his first Tour de France, Jens Vogt is heading for his 14th start in the event. Despite the great difference between the two riders, both will be just as excited and nervous about the start. Exactly the same applies to the other 196 riders starting this year’s Tour de France – myself included……
Vive le Tour