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Luke Evans is motorbike driver for top cycling photographer Graham Watson at the Dauphine Libere. Aside from piloting motorbikes, Luke is an author, freelance journalist and former editor of Cycle Sport magazine. A selection of Graham’s photos can be seen in our gallery section.

Monday, June 9, Stage One, Avignon – Privas 194 km

Relaxed atmosphere at the start today, and a chance to lick pencil, notebook in hand, then push spectacles to end of nose in search of tech.

On a Time bike, team Cofidis, I spotted one set of Campagnolo brake levers for 2009. They are much more ergonomically shaped, in carbon, with a distinctive ‘s’ shaped front profile. The hoods are ribbed – they look different but I wouldn’t say better than the current levers.

Not new but of interest maybe – Shimano’s electronic groupset on a Gerolsteiner Specialized. This looked like a production set, there were no rough edges or unfinished parts. Is Astana running short of SRAM parts? They had a Dura-Ace chainset on one spare bike (with a SRAM sticker on it), and another had a SRAM Rival chainset, the cheapy one compared to their Red gruppo. And it’s true what you may have read elsewhere – I have only seen Dura-Ace chains on SRAM Red equipped bikes.

Unlike the Giro, there is only one Brit in this race and I got lucky as I approached the Liquigas car and saw Charly Wegelius lounging in the passenger seat with the door open. He reckoned only about six riders were here who had also ridden the Giro, which finished just over a week ago.

Charly had ridden his socks off in that race and I asked him what he had been up to in his week off. Nothing much, he said, just spent time with his girlfriend and did a short ride at the end of the week. You must have been pretty empty I said. He tapped the side of his head. No morale. Drained mentally. Liquigas had four teams racing and he had been bumped from the Tour of Switzerland which starts when the Dauphine finishes.

Charly said it was great to do the Giro with all the other Brits and he was especially impressed by how Geraint Thomas had improved after his Tour debut last year. He doesn’t realise how talented he is. But the Giro was hard, so wet, and cold coming off the climbs. Two raincoats cold, then you have to dry your shoes out every night.

Sultry weather today and equally somnolent racing. Wine lovers would have enjoyed our tour through the ‘domaines’ of the Cote du Rhone. But hey, a pro race on a Monday in Provence (Ventoux looked big and menacing) – it’s better than sitting in an office right?

Thanks for tuning in.



Sunday, prologue: Moto pilot Luke is back in action after the Giro