A TdF 2004 Special

By Kirsten Begg
Cycling Historian









A CR/OLN/CCB Tour de France Exclusive


Hotel: 13

July 15, 2004 

Odometer: 3200 km

Figeac, France

Stage: 11

Day: 18

Graham Jones sightings by an OLN crew: 1!

Stage 11

Eefah! Yesterday was a strange day. It started with a tape going missing from the truck like five minutes before we needed to roll it into the Pre-Race Show. It contained the 90-second highlights of the previous day’s stage – that is my lone “producing/cutting” role at the Tour and it is one of my favorite things to do. I had left the tape on the editor’s desk to add some graphics and when he went to get it, it had vanished.

After a mad search we just decided to get going and cut it again. Fortunately with it only being 90 seconds I could remember all the shots.

Then just as we sat down the edit machine went on the blink, so the Pre-Race Show producer was a having a bit of a meltdown. We got it recut and everything was fine.

Before and during the shows I provide writing, research, and stats - all kind of stuff. ID’ing riders. You name it – that’s me. Coming up with those weird facts at the bottom of the screen – like how many French National Champions have worn yellow. The good practice for the CCB Trivia Quiz! The cutting of the 90-sec stage highlights was something that I sort of just took on here. The producer Mark was looking a bit stressed in the first couple days, so I asked if I could do anything and from the TTT, once the stage finishes I go into the edit and cut a 90 second highlight of that stage. And I’m really enjoying it.

Some days cramming one stage into 90 seconds is tough. Because there are certain things that already take up time and I am left with 45 seconds of freedom to tell the story but total freedom to pick the shots which I log as the stage unfolds.

Before I sit down in the edit I do a papercut. The recipe is fairly formulaic although I try to use shots that are different or teach the audience something. Yesterday’s papercut went like this:

Opening animation: 5 secs
2-man break: 10 secs
Peloton: 5 secs
Virenque drops Merckx: 5 secs
Virenque alone: 5 secs
Peloton split on Pas de Peyrol/Voeckler struggles: 5 secs
Kessler crash and replay: 10 secs
Virenque storming to finish: 10 secs
Finish/win: 10 secs
Replay: 5 secs
Virenque crying: 5 secs
Peloton finish: 10 secs
Voeckler podium: 5 secs

And there you have it – stage 10 in 90 secs. The opening animation, the finish/win, replay and podiums are all givens so that is about 30-40 secs already laid out. When it’s a great stage like yesterday’s it’s tough to cram into 90 secs as there are so many great shots. During the race I log the great shots so that in the edit we just go back to the time code, view the footage, pick our ins and outs and drop it in.

Within the time to tell each part of the story you can get more than one shot, so the Kessler part of the story had 5 secs of the crash in real time, then a replay and then him getting back on his bike.

You can see yesterday’s effort on the pre-race show today. It’s my fave time of the day and I get to hang out with our two Brit editors – Matt and Tony. While Tony and I cut the highlights, Matt cuts the tease – those hyped up 30 secs of pics that run at the front of the show – you know “yesterday blah, blah, blah but today the peloton hits the blah, blah, blah … stage X on the pre-race show …next!”

I also need to say that if you are ever in Aurillac, where we stayed last night, do NOT stay at the La Renaissance. It is in dire need of a little renaissance of it’s own – like some new wallpaper, paint and a fumigation.

When Bob and I got up this morning we saw a huge cockroach waling across the pillow. While I was grossing out, the Bobster realized that that was the thing that had been in his hair in the middle of the night. It was tickling his ear and he grabbed it and chucked it. Then he realized that he had chucked it my way so there then ensued an unsuccessful hunt for said beastie. I’m glad that I only saw it when I was out of bed – the thing was like 2” long. Add that to the mold in the shower, the peeling wallpaper, the ceiling with the black dirt round the edge and the general sad, dingy and dark interior of “La Renaissance” and we were all happy to be the hell out of there this morning.

Tonight is a slog to La Mongie with all it’s ugly 70’s concrete apartment buildings. Last year we had our rest day near there and I took a cable car out of La Mongie up to a 10,000 ft peak that is covered in telescopes and stuff. It looked like a scene from a James Bond movie. No stopping there for a rest day this year –although the next one is looming – I’m hoping to catch up with Alice – a long, longtime friend of my mum’s who lives in St Remy de Provence. She is 85 and one of the coolest ladies I know. She still spends 6 weeks every fall climbing her olive trees and picking the olives. She is nails.

Sad news about Tugboat. I got the chance to meet the loveable furball just this past March when I went to Girona to interview Tyler and Haven. You guys all know what Tugs meant to Tyler and Haven and if you don’t then a quick read of my Tyler interview in the June issue of Procycling will make you understand that when he’s home, Tugboat was his world. Very sad news. First Lady Range, now Tugs. Not a good year for the pooches.

Life goes on but if you have a pet give it a big hug today

More later



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Kirsten Begg (L), Kirsten Gum (R) in the office. Click picture for larger version.