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July 18, 2005: All's well on rest day

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The team is spending a welcome three nights in a row in the same small-but-secure hotel just outside of Pau, and that means easy transfers as well.

Even so, the fans have somehow figured out where the hotel is and have camped outside the gate waiting for a glimpse or better yet an appearance by any of the riders or staff. They are respectful, though, and the well-dressed gate guard ensures that only those who are supposed to be there are allowed into this temporary sanctuary.

The guys were honored to have America's winningest cyclist Davis Phinney in the area to say hello, and Davis' son Taylor came along as well - Tay's well over 6 feet tall, lean, and spends lots of time on the bike...

The team rode either one or two hours yesterday - Lance and George opting for the two-hour version. The mechanics were working on getting all the racing wheels just right so Lance put on a HED 3-spoke aero wheel on his bike, and when he came in after the ride joked, "My team is so fast that I have to use a TT wheel just to keep up with them!"

The mood is very relaxed and confident, knowing that Stage 16 has some challenges, but barring Tour de France drama things should work out nicely all the way to Paris. The "Texas Crew" - the Discovery Channel's video team - scored a major interview with George, logging some 20 minutes on camera.

For those who know quiet George, that's an incredible amount of talking. Here's a typical interview I did with him before his stage win:

"So how are you feeling today?"

"Good"

"Is the goal of the team - to stay on the front of the race all the way to Pla d'Adet?"

"Yes, but that's our goal every day."

End of interview (grin)...

All is well in the Discovery Channel camp - thanks for checking in.

Cheers,
Chris...

July 16, 2005: The Disco team car

Since we recently went on the team's bus I thought it only appropriate to also go inside a team car as well. As you might guess, with Lance being a national spokesperson for Subaru, their Legacy model is also the car of choice for the team, too.

Working from left to right, Johan's in the driver's seat (of course) and has a ready supply of Powerbar product in his door. In the centre console there is a TV attached to the top of the dashboard, then a GPS navigation system in the main console. The team radio hangs from the rearview mirror, plus Johan will have at least one cell phone and a blackberry with him as well.

Depending on the day and circumstances, either a guest will be in the passenger seat or possibly another DC staff member.

In the back the mechanic takes his place; usually it's Chris Van Roosbroeck with Johan. The wheels are stacked for easy access, the tools and maps all in their proper place as well. But according to team mechanic Geoff Brown, the one important item you cannot forget is the small blue cooler on the floor - it has their lunch in it!

And there you have it - an inside look at the Discovery Channel team car.

Ciao for now!
CB

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Chris will be bringing us daily updates from within Discovery Channel HQ, getting the lowdown from team management. Discovery Channel is the team on everybody's lips at this year's Tour de France. Why? One name - Lance Armstrong. This network of riders and staff previously existed as the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, helping Lance win his six Tour de France crowns, and in 2005 they're gunning for a seventh title. Follow the progress of the team here on Cyclingnews.com from 'Behind the Blue Curtain' Australia UK USA