Team Sky may be on the verge of making history with Britain’s first ever overall Tour de France victory, but regardless of what happens between now and Paris, there will apparently be no elaborate team celebrations in the French capital.
“This year it’s a little bit tricky with the Olympics,” noted Sky’s Head of Operations Carsten Jeppesen. “Normally teams have a get together: a party or dinner. But some of our athletes will have to fly to the UK that evening.”
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The Olympic road race takes place just six days after the Tour finishes on Sunday and most national squads want their riders to be joining them as soon as possible.
Although David Millar told us he duly plans to spend Sunday night celebrating the end of the Tour with his Garmin-Sharp team, Sky’s three Tour riders on the British Olympic road team – Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish – are expected to be flown to the British base in Surrey on a private jet that night.
“What we have said is we want all the riders to be in the hotel on the UK side by midnight at the latest” said Jeppesen. “You gain an hour going back to UK time but even then the latest they’ll have to leave [central Paris] by is ten o’clock or nine thirty.”
The rapid evacuation to the UK is further complicated by the fact that numerous Sky riders will be riding for different national teams.
Edvald Boasson Hagen for instance will be heading straight from the Tour to Norway’s Olympic camp. Bernard Eisel is on the Austrian team and Michael Rogers will be with the Australians. It’s not like they can have a little celebration together when they get there.
“We hope if we pull this one off, we’ll have time to have a quick dinner together with the whole team,” said Jeppersen. “We’ve been on the road for months together and been working on this project for so long it’ll be a shame just to say ‘see you guys’.
“But obviously the Olympics is a big goal for a lot of the athletes and also the team. Well have to have a bigger delayed party later in the year.”
Sky have more riders not at the Tour who will also be Olympic bound.
Although responsibility for the welfare and logistics of all Olympic riders fall to their respective national federations (the private flight from Paris is strictly speaking a British team concern), Sky will help their riders out where they can.
“We have the GB team to think about, the Norwegian team, the Austrian, Colombian, Australian teams,” said Jeppesen. “So we just decided that instead of our riders having to travel with bike bags etc, we’ll drive one of our trucks over to the Olympics too.
“That way their equipment will be there for them. If they need some nutrition bars or gels, they can get what they are used to.”
It’s not just getting out of Paris where Sky will be making dramatic departures.
After today’s Tour stage to Brive, all the team’s riders are being whisked up north for tomorrow’s time trial by helicopter.
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 17: Wiggins step closer to Paris as Valverde wins stage
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
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Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
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