Monthly Archives: July 2009

Behind-the-Scenes Photo Opps

The Tour might be winding down in its stages, but it sure is heating up with its action and interviews. I’ve been running around behind-the-scenes catching up with the athletes when they’re off the course. Check out some of these images:

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Anyone know what this tattoo means? I spotted it on the neck of seven-day yellow jersey holder Roberto Nogentini.

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Talk about a great moment to capture Mic Astarloza for an interview…he looks comfortable and sitting down is always a bonus.

Ciao~
Robbie

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VandeVelde in Action

Check out this picture I snapped after Stage 17:

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Christian VandeVelde pulled through to help Wiggins advance and now he’s in action warming up beforehis next big dance. These guys are awesome to watch even when they’re in the tent.

Ciao~
Robbie

Stage 17 Is in the Books, Wow!

Seventeen down and four to go. Hard to believe we’re in the final stretch of the Tour.

Good times at the Tour this year. I had a great morning and a great Tour thus far. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today was much like the other mountain stages we have seen with a long break dominating most of the stage.

But the big surprise was Thor Hushovd. This guy proved that the fastest man in the race does not always win the GREEN jersey in the tour. This year the strongest fast man won the prize with a tactical move on the most unusual day to lock in the green. This may be the first time both the polka dot and green jersey were locked up on a mountain stage. The finish today was in the same French town that we finished in a few years ago. I remember doing the zip line here in 2007 and I had a ball on the ropes course–if I have time I will give it a go again today.

Tomorrow is the TT course and I hope to get to ride the course tomorrow with my good friend John Bucksbaum. I am sure we will run into some of the teams out there reckoning with the course too.

I want to thank Versus this year for making the accommodations better then I could ever have imagined. We had Internet almost every night which really helped me stay connected to my family each night. I spent many nights falling asleep to the hustle-bustle of my wife and four kids playing and having fun at the house. Being able to stay connected to my life at home is such a huge bonus that was not as practical in past Tours because of technology.

I hope all of you at home are enjoying this wonderful race filled with excitement, drama, and the beautiful countryside. Today the boat was rocked once again, with the steep mountains being just too much for the Garmin boys. Christian V. rode his butt off for Wiggins today. He was simply awesome, giving everything he had to help Bradley limit his losses.

Near the end Contador made a strange move 5 kilometers from the top of the final climb that blew his teammate out of the winning move and the Schleck brothers into second and third place. Lance ripped it up again at the end of the stage to put himself in contention to take back his second place in the TT tomorrow.

Looking forward to last 5 days of Tour.

Ciao~
Robbie

The Stage 15 Run-Down

Second mountain top finish of this year’s Tour did not disappoint. Today I did a record of five start-line interviews: Dirk Demol, Matt White, Bob Stapleton, Christian VandeVelde and George Hincapie. It is a bit stressful to do all those interviews in one day, but in the end I love to be busy so for me it is better to do more than less. One thing about working here at the Tour is there is a bunch of standing around waiting on the athletes. This is like nails on a chalkboard for a person like me. I need to be busy and I need to feel productive or I go crazy. My wife discovered this on our honeymoon when she wanted to hang by the pool for our vacation while I was trying to master every water sport known to man. We have both adjusted and I am a little (not much) better at kicking back and relaxing.

I am looking forward to our next rest day and I have to tell you that I cannot believe we only have 6 stages to go and this one is in the books. This tour has flown by not only for me but for our entire crew. The mountaintop finishes are great to watch but they are a bit challenging from a logistics standpoint. We have to get up and down the mountain and with so many fans and so few roads it often times gets to be a major cluster and time comes to a halt when you’re stuck on a mountain doing nothing. And we all know how much I like doing nothing!

The interviews at the end of the stage today were crazy–there was not enough room for the media, riders, cars and tour staff! And something had to give! I still ended up getting to speak with Bradley Wiggens, Christian and Ryder of Slipstream, but it was an incredible day for everyone involved with the Tour.

Alberto stamped is authority on the Tour and Lance survived his first real test of the mountains. All in all a very good day.

Ciao~
Robbie

Thoughts from Stage 13

Well folks the GC battle has started once again. Today’s big climbs and epic weather conditions have this race heating up once again. This is the most exciting part of the Tour and we are going to be treated to the best Tour in recent history. As for me: I have been rolling along doing my interviews and enjoying my stand-ups. Things have been pretty stress-free for the most part. The transfers are all longer then I remembered but if that is my biggest problems I am not doing to bad.

Besides my wife and kids, the thing I miss most is riding my bike. Just want to tell everyone we are so lucky that we get the gift of being able to ride out bike pretty much whenever we want. There are so many people who don’t have the means nor the health, or opportunity to ride their bikes like we can. We can never take our health nor this wonderful sport for granted.

The race today was brutal on the cyclist as well as the Versus staff. Trying to keep everything dry during interviews and stand-ups is not easy. Trying to make sure the studio stays in tip-top shape as well as running tapes to and from the interviews to the truck becomes a little bit tougher with the rain and nasty weather.

Again, check my Twitter at Robbieventura for some photos and video updates from France. The finish today was a bit of a surprise with a lead-out man taking the stage but that is bike racing. Never goes as planned but we keep trying to guess–that is the fun of it for me. Watching HH cross the line in tears today was about as cool as it gets here at the Tour de France. This race means so many different things to everyone who is part of it. The riders, staff, media, fans, etc. They all get something out of it and I can tell you it is always something special. Hope everyone is good at home. Talk soon.

Ciao~
Robbie

P.S. Pictures coming soon

What’s up in Andorra?

If you remember the picture I posted the other day of me riding up the chairlift to the highest point on the Tour, then the scenery in this video might look a little familiar. Frankie and I were about to take the lift down the mountain yesterday when chaos erupted. Check out this scene:

Ciao~
Robbie

Rest Day Ride

Even on a rest day the cyclists are riding through the French countryside. Yesterday I had a chance to get out myself–sans helmet as mine was crushed in my luggage. Saxo hooked me up with Stuart O’Grady’s spare bike and I got to pedal around for a while. And if you check out this video you can see who I got to ride with:

And who I encountered later. Talk about eye-opening when you see the yellow jersey in front of you.

Ciao~
Robbie