As seen on cyclingnews.com

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Chateau de la Verie

My second piece for cyclingnews.com is now online. I wanted to take a look at what happens when the riders cross the line because if the race is over for the day, the work is not done. In particular, riders can face a long drive to get to their hotel and the stop for the night varies, it might be luxury but more often than not it’s a chain hotel.

As I type some riders will be kicking back in their luxury hotel, getting psyched for the team time trial. The image up above is of Quick Step’s hotel during the opening weekend. By contrast, the picture below is where Rabobank and Cofidis have been staying, the Kyriad in La Roche sur Yon. Perhaps the chateau doesn’t look like hotel but it certainly gives the impression of a pleasant place to visit. But the Kyriad, well it’s not exactly going to feature on local postcards is it?

Kyriad Roche sur Yon

Is it a car showroom? A tile warehouse? Or a hotel?

There’s an egalitarian touch to the sport here, millionaires staying in hotels that charge €42 a night. But the main issue is that rest and recovery are all important in a three week race. A lousy night’s sleep on the eve of a big stage is a real problem. Comfort is one of those marginal factors that help to keep a rider’s morale going and over three weeks it can affect the recovery powers too.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/inner-ring/three-week-tour-thats-no-vacation
http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/inner-ring/inner-ring-on-the-tour-de-france

Nick July 3, 2011 at 11:06 am

Maybe Rabobank’s hotel has an incredible breakfast buffet…

natalie July 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

Some riders have complained about this on twitter before – not just the hotels though certainly we see many an iphone picture of a basic room – but the noise that there sometimes is in certain hotels so location is a factor. A noisy hotel is worse than a basic room with your bed overly close to your teammate ;)

It’s meant to be a mixture isn’t it? Throughout the three weeks teams will get both ends of the spectrum and inbetween, I don’t think anyone gets luxury for the full three weeks (but I could be wrong).

Do Sky still take their own beds/mattresse?

bikecellar July 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Good earplugs, eye mask, plug in mini fan, (in case of no air conditioning), memory foam pillow. Sorted.

GluteCramp July 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Which hotel has better steaks though?

The Inner Ring July 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm

natalie: yes, Sky have bedding and Rabo do too.

bikecellar: some teams ban air conditioning in case riders catch a chill. True.

GluteCramp: it was the closed kitchen in the Pau Novotel that caused the Astana team to “import” the steaks and cook them on the team bus, had they stayed elsewhere things might have been different were steaks on the menu.

Peter July 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I think your additions to CN are some of the better articles posted on that site. They should hire you full time :D
When the Tour passed through Switzerland in 2009, a few of the teams stayed in a hotel just down the road from my house. I was very surprised as this particular hotel was nothing special at all, and in fact it has received alot of criticism for the poor state of the place. But I guess a good nights sleep is a good nights sleep.
Also, I just wanted to say I am glad I stumbled onto your site. It’s awesome, keep it up.

C Grade Cyclist July 4, 2011 at 4:00 am

Great article, thanks… :)

One of the things that impresses me the most about Grand Tours is not that the riders can just back up day to day – but they can back up with all the transfers, etc. Can’t be ideal having to take bus trips after flogging yourself for 200km around France everyday…

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