Alexander Gordeyev on Tour de France: stage 18
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The morning was sunny, so everyone was happy, after cold and raining Tourmalet.
Wakening and breakfast was as usual according to the schedule.
Technicians woke up earlier this morning. Specialized requested Alberto to use new frame bike on this stage. War-horse is seldom changed during the race , only Frenchmen could afford themselves to change frames, but Astana had serious task , and horses are not to be changed during the race. The request of bikes’ suppliers couldn’t be ignored so thus the technicians prepared the bike.
The frame was unusual with its painting. There were names of people who paid 30 Euro for placing of their names on the frame. This is what I’ve got from my conversation with a technician. The conversation was “with fingers” as we spoke different languages.
After breakfast everybody went to the start point, it was about 50 km to it.
There were again a lot of technical cars, buses and fans on the small patch. Everyone was ready for battle.
Before the start Astana was awarded with prize Fair play.
Vino went out to get this prize.
After that everybody signed in the start list.
It is very solemn event at every stage, commentator represents every racer, fans support their favourites, music plays, leaders are taken interview. Alberto demonstrated to everybody his new bike frame. Many racers give out autograph. It is not easy to describe this atmosphere with words, I better show a few photos.
The start was in appointed time.
The caravan of technical cars moved to the finish line.
I set in to a car and drived by-pass highway to Bordeaux , there were traffic jam at the entrance to the city, it took me almost 4 hours to get to the city. And finally I was at finish point.
Crush at finish among photographers is much more harder than among racers, only incidences are rarer and painless. I elbowed and made a few pictures of finish.
As Cavendish raced crookedly.
He was invited to make alcoholic test.
He turned out to be abstinent and they decided to award him.
After that there was the Yellow T-shirt for Alberto.
French minister came for awarding , brought some lady with him, who tried to kiss our Captain but he looked not very happy about that
But Cameron Diaz changed the situation for the better.
Tom Cruz joined in congratulation and Alberto looked happy again. He presented the flowers to Cameron. And it was good that T-shirt didn’t fit to Cruz.
Further less important T-shirts followed.
The awarding was over, but journalists didn’t let Alberto to go for a long time.
In the evening everybody is gathered at dinner. The not easy race was awaiting for the racers on the next day
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