June 27, 2010

Will Frischkorn checks in from the Garmin-Transitions service course as the team prepares for the upcoming Tour de France.

Team Felts - Tour de France, service course

It’s been a crazy week here at the Girona service course. With the Tour one week away, and everybody heading north to Rotterdam in the next couple of days, this past week has been crunch time.

The Tour is unique to most races in that while we head to every race with equipment in top condition and perfectly maintained, for the Tour it’s nearly all brand new. The mechanics, five of them hard at work this past week, have been building up new Felt’s for all: F1s and ARs for the road stages, the new DA for the TTs, and the special edition Roubaix bikes for the pave stages. Each rider will head to Rotterdam with 6 bicycles: their race bike, one spare for each car, a roubaix bike, and two time trial bikes.

Victor Girona - Tour de France, service course

The truck will be chock-block, and then we’ll send up an additional sprinter van loaded with specific equipment for the pave stages. With the TT stages split so far apart, we can also remove those from the equation and have a bit more room in the truck for work in the middle weeks, so after the first week the sprinter can head back to Girona where all the Roubaix and TT bikes can be washed, serviced, and put back in their spots here until the next use.
Mavic wheels - Tour de France, service course

Many of the wheels headed north have been reserved new, and the others are all checked carefully and refitted with fresh bearings. We’ll have an assortment of Mavic Carbon Cosmic Ultimates, Rsys, Rsys Ultimate, CC80 prototype aerodynamics, Cosmic SLRs, and special-build Reflex rim, Dura-Ace hub classics wheels for the road stages. For the TTs riders will choose between the classic Comete disc, a new Comete all carbon, and then the IO or CC80 up front. All the wheels are kitted with fresh rubber from Vittoria, a mix of the Corsa CX 23, Slick, Tech, Chrono 22, and prototype 25mm CX for the pave bits. Tubulars are undisputed for their ride, but there is a LOT of glue wafting around in the warehouse right now!

Vittoria tires - Tour de France, service course

Sorting equipment - Tour de France, service course

In addition to the obvious mechanical workload, the soigneurs have been hard at work stocking the truck with fresh clothing from Pearl Izumi, Giro road and TT helmets, DZnuts, heaps of fresh bars, shots and goodies from Clif, as many Camelbak Podium and Podium Chill bottles as space allows, and then all of the non-perishables needed for daily prep and snacks on the road.
Clif Roks - Tour de France, service course

We’ve also finished building out a new Sprinter as a mobile chef’s kitchen for Sean Fowler, our gourmet on the road. Sean will be with the team the entire Tour preparing all the food for the guys, and finally has a real kitchen to call home on the road. The final touches are being kitted now, but these pictures show the current state, and she’s a beauty.
Chef's Kitchen - Tour de France, service course

The whole Argyle Armada moves north Monday and Tuesday, and for the riders the madness begins then. For the staff, however, the craziness is nearly behind us; and once the race begins it’s back to the familiar routines. Just days to go!

More photos from the service course:
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