Lessons from France

As we wrap up our tech coverage from this year's Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, we leave you with a...

Race Tech: Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, June 22, 2007

As we wrap up our tech coverage from this year's Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, we leave you with a gallery of images that illustrate some interesting trends. First of all, team equipment sponsors obviously pay a lot of money for the riders to use their stuff, but there is still some leeway on behalf of the teams and riders as to which of those items they prefer to use, and what they prefer to pass over.

On a related note, things are not always what they appear to be: rebadging equipment is a common practice in the pro peloton, particularly in the case of tires or any other component where a rider's personal preference would quite visibly conflict with the official supporting sponsor. Black permanent markers and electrical tape are often a team's best friend.

Equipment is also not always perfect, at least not cosmetically. While team mechanics absolutely place the rider's safety and the performance of their bicycle on the highest pedestal, the method used to get to that point is not always the prettiest (although it's always clean!). Just because something may look a bit scratched up doesn't mean it can't still go like stink. Your perfectly polished and waxed US$8000 machine may be shinier, but there's no substitute for a good pair of legs when it comes to getting to the finish line first.

And finally, a few parting words from our travels through France:

  • Cash is always good to have on hand, as plastic is not always universally accepted, including in the automated highway toll machines (not that we'd know)
  • Automatic traffic cameras designed to catch speeders do not discriminate (see above)
  • Even the tiniest of rental cars are still designed to handle fairly confidently at 160km/h (um, see above)
  • Thankfully, the local police are very friendly and helpful, especially when you're an ignorant foreigner who doesn't realize that many French towns have farmers' markets on early Sunday mornings in parking lots conveniently located across the street from your hotel (see first entry)
  • 'Fourriere' roughly translates into 'impound' in French (um, again, see above)

Au revoir!

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