One of the most challenging problems for the ASO logistics department each Tour de France is just how to get team vehicles from the start to the finish before the riders get there.
Riders will leave it to the last minute to get off their team buses before heading up to the start line, meaning they cannot drive along the race route ahead of the peloton on the long, straight stages we’ve seen on stages 15 and 16.
With each team now possessing a huge luxurious bus it is rarely an option to send the convoy over neighbouring mountain passes and narrow roads, therefore ASO must find the quickest route using main roads.
On stage 15, however, only a handful of the buses made it to the finish before the riders thanks to the 310km route they had to take through winding roads of the Ardeche region.
The scenes at the finish line were a throwback to the olden days, according to Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White, who told Cycling Weekly that it was like when he first turned professional.
Riders were milling around the finish straight, chatting to each other until their bus turned up, something you rarely see these days with riders usually jumping straight off their bikes and heading up the steps into the vehicles.
Orica made up a makeshift camp between two of the team’s people carriers, while other teams like LottoNL-Jumbo doled out recovery drinks and food from the back of a transit van – a scene not too dissimilar to that seen at amateur and youth races.
Team Sky finally profited from their controversial motorhome on this Tour, as the vehicle that is doubling up as Sir Dave Brailsford’s office arrived at the finish in plenty of time and welcomed some of the Sky riders on board while they waited for the so called ‘Death Star’.
Riders will have to fend for themselves again on stage 16, with the hors course taking Tour traffic from Bourg De Péage to Gap via the southern city of Aix-en-Provence.
Most teams are staying in and around Gap for the next few stages, so riders could pedal to their hotels, but Team Sky have been placed 50km away, meaning they’ll have to wait for their transport once more.
Watch highlights from stage 15 of the Tour de France