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Want up to the second coverage of the Tour of Britain? Join the Twitter feed of @RockRacing. This is produced by Rock Racing’s PR man Sean Weide, pictured above.
He lined me up a one-on-one interview with Tyler Hamilton before the start of today’s start of the Tour of Britain in London.
I won’t be embedded with the whole race but it’ll be fun on stage six - that from Darlington to Newcastle-Gateshead - because I’ll be with 20 school-kids, members of the school cycling club which I coach.
One of these kids is Josh, my ten year old son. He was with me in London today. He took a cracking headshot of Tyler:
In fact, there are four of Josh’s shots on this flickr set. The above is my favourite because of Tyler’s bokeh hand.
Some of the first ToB pix are below and there’s a recording of my interview with Tyler. This might have ended in disaster (many people no doubt wish it had, Tyler is hated by many, although precious few of these haters will have read Christopher Campbell’s dissent in the USADA vs Hamilton blood doping case) as my digital tape recorder died the death on me, seconds before I was to start the interview.
I improvised, grabbing my small video camera instead, and filmed Tyler’s chest as I grabbed some audio. The quality isn’t perfect (a generator on a team bus kicked in as I pressed record) but audio can be found here as an MP3 direct-listen or on iTunes. The US champion talked about the special Tour of Britain team kit, and his recent US Championships win, a Phelpsian skin-of-a-pudding kind of victory.
Above, plenty of people were watching the fast and furious finish of the first stage. Petacchi, in his first race after suspension, won by a country mile.
Josh with gold medallist Bradley Wiggins.
Cartoonist Jo Burt with the new British Cycling mascot, drawn by the Mint Sauce creator and seen here much larger than life.
The Rock Racing team - the so-called ‘bad boys’ of the pro peleton - had London-specific kit today, promoting the brand’s appearance in Harrods. For the rest of the Tour the team with sport ToB-specific strips.
‘Fast’ Freddy Rodriguez seen getting on the Tour of Britain specific Fuji machine. This will be available as special edition bike in the bike store concession in Harrods. The team will be in store at the end of the Tour.