Criterium du Dauphine Libere — Prologue TT


Rest day?

Today is the prologue TT. We only have to drive a short distance to the start of the TT (and back to the hotel). Maybe 5k each way and pretty simple. The traffic back to the hotel was thick but it did not delay us too much.

Apparently we were told that team parking for the TT would not be available until after 1:00 PM. The first rider would go off at 3:30 PM so not a big deal really. Even still, teams would want to get there as early as possible. Getting a good/early parking spot means that riders could get a good solid warm up and be as close as possible to the start ramp. Or more importantly have easy directions (straight shot — few turns) to get to the start.

The reason for the 1:00 PM parking directive was a farmers market going on in the same place as the team parking would be (under the elevated freeway). When we got there (exactly at 1:00 PM) they were still cleaning up the farmers market. And what a mess they had to clean before we could park. There was debris from all the unwanted product (unsold but unwanted fruits and vegetables). And the empty boxes from all that they did sell. They had guys going full gas trying to get the area clean. Street sweepers galore. But worse than the mess was the smell from all the debris “cooking” in the hot Grenoble sun. Although it started to rain for the TT. Go figure.

The TT went very smoothly. I’m super glad for 3 mechanics at a stage race. And more importantly, having 3 mechanics at a TT stage. This allowed us two mechanics to take care of last minute changes/tweaks. The third mechanic could concentrate on just going in the follow car. And after each guy did his TT, that mechanic could drop off the spare bike he did not need anymore and get the spare bike of the rider that would go off next.

One of the strangest things broke up the TT schedule (sort of). There was a French Parliament election today. So, in order to allow citizens to cross the street and vote, the organizers put a 10 minute break between waves of riders. There are 19 teams here. So 19 riders would go off (one at a time, one from each team) at one minute intervals. Then they put a 10 minute break after that. Another wave of 19 riders and then a 10 minute break again and so on and so on. This made for an extended TT day. But it really gave us time to do things as necessary with loads of time. We now had 10 minutes extra time between each of our riders.

With such a smooth running TT, it was almost like a rest day. Not too crazy and not too much work (for a TT). Save for the rain. But that had more of an affect on the riders and not so much for the mechanics. Almost like a rest day. But the realization of being in race mode instead of rest day mode brings me back to reality.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.