There are 30 of us working on the Tour, it must be the biggest writing and stills photographer group in the race.
L’Equipe journalists make up the majority with nine writers for the paper and website plus three for Velo magazine. Three photographers on motorbikes with three drivers (the one Brit, me).
There’s a couple of writers from Le Parisienne paper. All travel in Skodas driven by nine ‘conducteurs’. It’s all blokes. One medium-size van collects all our overnight bags each morning from reception and when we get to our rooms each night (we have vouchers for every hotel) our bags are in each room.
We don’t share and the hotels are good ones. I have shared rooms and stayed in some gymcrack places over the years, so the L’Equipe gig is hard to beat.
One team from a big agency found three of them sharing one room last week with a shower so small you couldn’t get your arms up. One photographer slept in the car that night. You can’t do that and stay sane on the Tour.
The six of us, photographers and drivers are close knit. So when our leader, photographer Bernard Papon, broke his leg in a small crash in the neutralised zone of stage five we were pretty bereft.
Trying to get a shot of a cyclist on the ground the bike hit a bale and tipped over. Papon, as they often are, was looking at his phone or camera, and fell awkwardly breaking both bones below the knee. He will be okay but is out for a few months.
A freelance photographer is with us now till the end of the race and it was my first time with Etienne on Sunday’s cobbled stage. In at the deep end for the young fellow but he did great.
Jet washed the Roubaix dust and muck off the bike earlier in the week only to ride through clouds of the stuff again over the Plateau of the Glieres during the next stage.
Lovely up there and some locals put on a moving still life tableau in period dress to honour the resistance fighters who received parachute drops during the Second World War.
Luke Edwardes-Evans is working as a motorcycle rider with a team of photographers from L’Equipe, the French daily sports paper, in this year’s Tour de France.