My Week: Graham Jones

BBC Radio 5 Live's correspondent for the Tour de France recalls the week in which British cyclist Mark Cavendish won the stage on Bastille Day
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The Independent Online

Monday

I've been on the Tour de France route since the start of the race on 4 July. I used to cycle professionally and did the Tour de France a number of times in the 1980s. Now I'm on a team of commentators on the races for BBC Radio 5 Live.

Today is actually a rest day after some really tough mountainous regions that the cyclists have had to endure over the past few days. We have to do a long drive from Tarbes to Limoges, though, so I spend much of the day in the car with the team.

Tuesday

Today the race is from Limoges to Issoudun. During races we are stationed at the finishing point with all the other radio crews from around the world, watching it all on camera. It can be quite a tricky thing to talk about a bike race over radio so you just try to paint a picture for listeners to keep it ticking along and entertaining. There's a nice camaraderie with all the other teams from around the globe, and if a person from a certain country wins that day we all tease the crew from that country. Britain's Mark Cavendish wins the stage today which is great. But it is Bastille Day today, so he might not have been the desired winner for many! After the race we drive to Vatan for tomorrow's race.

Wednesday

After the race which finishes in Saint-Fargeau we have to drive to Tonnerre. We don't get there till quite late in the evening but we all go out for a nice dinner and a glass of chablis, which is very pleasant. We stay at hotels along the way, and as we're in a new place every day it can get quite crazy.

Thursday

Today is the longest race during the entire Tour de France: it is 211.5km long. They're cycling from Tonnerre to Vittel so we're at our usual station at the end of the race, waiting. A Dane, Nicki Sorensen, wins his first stage today. So many people are still so close that it makes for very exciting watching. There are only a few seconds between the leading three.

Friday

It's back to mountainous racing today for Vittel to Colmar, and it is really miserable weather. It's grey and drizzling and we all sit around in a van feeling a bit fed up, and huddling up to stay warm as we watch Heinrich Haussler, who represents Germany, win today's stage. I've come along on the Tour de France for years now. I used to live in France so I have a good feel for the country and all the routes, and I suppose that gives me an edge. We'll be on the road for another week: it finishes next Sunday. It's easy for me, though: I'm not cycling! I think it is a fantastic country and the Tour de France is an opportunity for me to revisit some beautiful countryside, watch a brilliant sport that I love and enjoy superb food. My day job back home is being the route director of the Tour of Britain, which happens in September. But this will always be a special event to me.

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