With just days remaining before the final Grand Tour of 2009 - the Vuelta a España – some of the world’s top teams have been busy fine-tuning their riders equipment ahead of tomorrow’s 4.5 kilometre opening time trial in Assen, The Netherlands. With the race starting on his doorstep, the first time it’s started outside Spain in 12 years, Cyclingnews photographer Bert Geerts took a behind-the-scenes look at the last minute preparations for a three-week race.
While riders like Alexandre Vinokourov were busy being grilled by the media, the team mechanics were out washing, cutting and re-building the stallions the competitors will depend upon to survive the three week race. Here's a look at what goes on in the final hours before a Grand Tour.
Caisse d'Epargne's Dani Moreno was checking out his mechanic's handy work, ensuring everything about his ride was up to standard with the International Cycling Union's rule book.
Vacansoleil had brand new, limited edition forks installed on the team's bikes just days before the race begins.
Rabobank leader Robert Gesink and Bram Tankink cycle in front of the Rabobank team during the preparations around Assen.
Garmin-Slipstream leaves no stone unturned in its Vuelta preparations, with the team's bus even getting some last-minute attention.