Stage 16 could be described as a transfer stage - the main purpose being to get the riders from one country to another, with no effort being being put into making it interesting at all. We were transitioning too, from being a bit tired to being totally destroyed. Two weeks of 14-hour days filled with driving, photographing, photo-editing and story-writing had taken a toll.
After yesterday’s shemozzle, we went back to our own golden rule of not messing around at the start. It would seem that our hotelier for the night had been reading the Stage 15 report as well - at 10:15am sharp he gave us a stern order to pack up and get out.
We made good time, Speedy grabbed some sangas from the boulie while I packed the car. The only thing we were unprepared for was where to actually get a decent shot on this transfer stage...
As we drove along the course, we saw some places that might be ok but I had to remind myself, that often if a place isn’t impressive from the car, it’s not going to be great from the camera. With the feed-zone and halfway point getting closer, our options dwindled as we risked not having a shot and not being able to make it to the finish before the riders.
Eventually we came across a small town which seemed to have a lot going for it. There was an old Chateau on the hill, a high vantage point and an escape route to the finish. The riders came through, I shot wide, Speedy shot by the road so we’d have all angles covered. Then came the time to leave.
There was an exit road to the finish if we drove back along the course, usually a big no-no, so we drove along the course and spotted the soigneurs driving in the opposite direction. We chucked a youey and joined the middle of the convoy to sneak past any gendameries.
We made it to the finish with a enough time to pick a spot, but not before we had a solid giggle at the name of the town we passed through on the way - Wankdorf. The sprint between Kristoff and Sagan was so close, I couldn’t pick it from my spot. Eventually the media scrum revealed the victor. Almost immediately, the cycling crowd turned into a football crowd, with chanting, flags and girls in bikinis covered in riders’ names. Who knew that Switzerland could host such chaos.
As I was snapping away in the podium pit, someone in front of me kept throwing up hand signs, alternating between ‘peace’ and ‘devil horns’. Normally this would be fine except it was right in my line of sight. I looked over the top of the camera to yell at the culprite, but low-and-behold it was the ever eccentric Tinkoff team owner, Oleg Tinkov, with both of his hands in the air - typical.