|Stage Guide||The Bike|
If a rider is lucky they will have stayed within riding distance of the start, but usually it is a short trip in the team bus.
There will be a huge amount of people milling around in the start area of such an important stage.
The constant demands from people make the Tour extra hard.
In other races, even the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta Espana, there are nowhere near as many journalists and guests.
On the Tour there is no escaping them.
The riders will mostly choose to escape the attention of everyone and head into the race village and hide.
This area is fenced off from the public and gives riders a chance to have a cup of coffee and maybe a snack, along with a chat with other competitors.
Another very popular attraction in the Tour Village is the France Telecom area.
Here riders can ring home and speak to their family and friends, with calls free to anywhere in the world.
During this pre-stage period the riders take a little time out to chat about what lies ahead.
Non-climbers talk about their chances of making it to the finish inside the time limit.
The more confident will mull over the tactics of perhaps attacking from the start.
Meanwhile, the Tour contenders and possible stage winners will be keeping to themselves and getting psyched up for the day.
Before a stage like this, it is pretty nerve-wracking for all concerned.
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