“It was May when we went to Sierra Nevada, to the CAR, a High-Performance Centre in Granada.
It’s some kind of hotel with sport facilities attached that was designed to train professional athletes, 2,320 metres above sea level, 40km away from Granada, 124kms from Malaga. It seems clear that this is a place where the only thing you can do is train…
Our idea is to write a feature on Ag2r and how they get ready for the Tour de France. We will, of course, focus on Romain Bardet, the star of the team. His fellow riders who share with him the final kilometres of the great Tour mountain passes will also be there, training to race side-by-side with their leader on hard climbs for as long as they can, up to the last kilometre if possible. This is Bardet’s year, because of his age and because of the Tour’s latest outcomes.
Together with Richard Abraham, the journalist writing the feature, we imagine different shots for Bardet, different portraits, maybe on his bicycle, with the beautiful CAR’s running track as a backdrop, among ski slopes and mountains still covered with snow.
But when we arrive, Bardet is nowhere to be found! He has not arrived yet – maybe tomorrow, we hear from the team’s press officer… But he doesn’t, Bardet never arrives, he cannot make it to the CAR this time.
So I take photos of the rest of the team, the facilities, the mountains, and suddenly it becomes clear that maybe the star of the feature is actually the CAR and its environment, this sort of monastery for professional athletes.”
Dan Martin by Timm Kölln
What’s in issue 19.1?
Dan Martin took a long, hard look in the mirror last year and turned his season round by remembering why he started racing in the first place. Rouleur visits his Andorran home to discover The Joy of Dan.
Our resident Danish wordsmith Morten Okbo waxes lyrical on the subject of Belgium, via a scathing treatise on the country from French poet and essayist Charles Baudelaire.
Plus new columnists Ned Boulting and Romain Bardet, Belgian powerhouse Sep Vanmarcke, Alex Dowsett, Philippa York, altitude camp with Ag2r, cobbled chaos in Roubaix territory, the Guatemalan who rode the Tour of Flanders and the finest bikes and kit money can buy in Desire.
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