2016 Moirans_Montagne

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Today’s photo shows Chris Froome being interviewed by French TV after signing in before the start of Stage 16 of the Tour de France in Moirans-en-Montagne. The French public are certainly warming to Chris Froome as only Peter Sagan got a bigger cheer than Froome from the crowd. Last year, I had watched Froome sign in at Saint Jean de Maurienne and he only got a muted response that day. But since last year, Froome has learnt to speak French and conducted out all his interviews at this year’s Tour in French. It has certainly paid off and French TV have been much more accepting of his performances even though if anything, he has been even more dominant this year than last.

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Crowd waiting on the cavalcade in Moirans-en-Montagne. We missed the start of the cavalcade by about 5 minutes but still managed to get a pile of stuff. Not as much merchandise as the day before at Anglefort but quite a good haul considering we were late. I had got slightly lost on the way to Moirans and we ended up going through Oyannax rather than around it. Fortunately, when we got to Moirans, we were directed to park in an industrial estate. Last year, when myself and Noel went to the stage start in Saint Jean de Maurienne, we had spent about half an hour stuck in traffic and ended up parking outside someone’s house. But the traffic management was much better in Moirans-en-Montagne and there were a lot of stewards directing the traffic, which meant we got to Moirans town centre in time to see most of the cavalcade.

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Even the Devil himself was in Moirans-en-Montagne. The Devil is a German called Didi Senft and he has been a common sight at the Tour de France since 1993. As well as being famous for dressing up as a Devil, Didi also holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest rideable bike , which he built in 2012. The bicycle measures 7.8 m  long, 3.7 m high and weighs 150 kg.  I had read in 2014 that the Devil was retiring from attending the Tour after he underwent an operation to remove a clot from his brain. But he obviously recovered quite quickly and here he is in Moirans-en-Montagne at the start of the stage today.

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Signing-in stage at Moirans-en-Montagne. Every day on the Tour de France, French TV have a show called Village Depart to co-incide with  the riders signing in before the start of each stage. Myself and Noel had gone to the start last year in St Jean de Maurienne but there was a lot more room this year in Moirans-en-Montagne and it was easier to get a good view of the stage.

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Considerable security at the signing-in TV show. I don’t remember seeing any gendarmie (police officers) at the Village Depart show last year but there were loads today all around the stage. All of these officers were armed and had anyone tried to storm the stage, they almost certainly would have been shot.

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Dan Martin was one of the first cyclists to sign in. Dan had been up to 3rd in the GC during the Pyrenees but had lost some time on Mont Ventoux and was in 9th place at the start of today’s stage.

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A minutes silence for the victims of the Bastille Day attack in Nice. At 12 o’clock exactly. the stage was crowded with race officials and some French riders to observe a minute’s silence for the victims in Nice.

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Winner of the previous day’s stage to Culoz, Jarlinson Pantano. Jarlinson was presented with a medal for winning the previous day’s stage and was interviewed in Spanish about his victory. Jarlinson’s team, IAM Cycling are folding at the end of the 2017 season but he will have no trouble finding another team after winning a mountain stage in the Tour de France.

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Chris Froome being interviewed on French TV.  Chris Froome was a lot more relaxed being interviewed here than when he was interviewed just after the stage to Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day. That had been a crazy day during which he had to run part of the way to try and get a spare bike but he had survived a tough stage the day before in the Jura mountains and he looked in complete control of this Tour with less than a week left.

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Fabian Cancellera being interviewed after signing in. Today’s stage was finishing in Berne, Cancellara’s home town. As this is his last Tour de France, he was interviewed for longer than any other cyclist.

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