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Peter Gilham's Tour Blog: Day Two

The voice of Brentford with the latest goings-on in France

9 July 2017

After a day of travelling, it was a fairly quiet evening in The Bees Training Camp on Saturday night. Players and staff alike, having enjoyed their first evening meal, had time to themselves before it was lights out.

Some went for a stroll to check out the local area, as did Luke Stopforth (Head of Performance Analysis) and Tom Perryman (First-Team Strength Coach). Before they had left the complex they met a very pleasant elderly couple who were more than happy to let them know a bit about the area and places to visit. After about five minutes it transpired they were Dutch but currently on vacation from their current home in Belgium. Upon hearing they were Dutch, Tom, I understand from a reliable source (and I don’t know the couple), immediately informed them that we had 4 Danish players in our squad believing that Holland and Denmark are the same country! Apparently the elderly couple scurried away swiftly, unsurprisingly.

Others, namely Bob Oteng (Kit Logistics Manager), Daryl Martin (Physio), Chris Domoney (Masseur), Dan Bentley and Luke Daniels went for a shorter stroll and happened to come across a fleet of trucks belonging to Team Sky who were staying at the same hotel Saturday night, together, as it happens, with two other teams taking part in the Tour de France. 

The eighth Stage of the Tour de France ended at Station Des Rousses which is about ten miles from where the team are staying. The ninth Stage, which commenced Sunday morning, started in Nantua some fifty miles away.

The Bees group of five initially started talking to an engineer. However within minutes Sir David Brailsford CBE the General Manager of Team Sky came out, introduced himself, and proceeded to invite them in for a personal tour of the trucks. They included refridgerated bike trucks, a mobile laundry (which left Bob openmouthed and he immediately started a wish list) and a mobile canteen. On entering the canteen they were introduced to the current leader, and twice winner of the Tour de France, Chris Froome, together with Geraint Thomas who unfortunately crashed out of the race today, and other members of the team. Chris Froome gladly answered questions including one from Chris Domoney (known affectionately to us as Sladey) as to how he could best prepare for his own upcoming “Prudential Ride London/Surrey 100” cycle challenge. It was just the question Chris Froome wanted before embarking on his own 185 kilometre mountain challenge!

But the unique tour that our lads had through Team Sky, apart from being beyond what they may have hoped for, proved to be an incredible and priveleged insight into the preparation and back up required  to produce a world class unit that Team Sky most certainly are. To be champions and winners, they set the trend. The five were quick to say how grateful and honoured they were to be given the time Sir David gave them, particularly at such an important stage of the competition.

The only downside was that Sir David Brailsford announced himself as a Derby County fan, and he hoped “that Brentford finish second behind Derby”. 

The first full day of The Bees French pre-season Training Camp, and I awoke to a beautiful blue sky with the sun beaming down. However, as you know, I’m at home, but for those in Divonne les Bains it was a cloudy start after a night of thunderstorms. There was also apparently some sort of festival taking place in the town during the twilight hours which allowed the reggae music to sync in nicely with the claps of thunder.

So it was a wet first training session on Sunday morning which included two heavy downpours, whilst the afternoon session was played in a mix of sun and breezy conditions. If you check out the Bees Twitter account you’ll find plenty of pictures covering the training sessions, which tell their own tale.

Come Sunday evening and it was time for some entertainment, for want of a better word, consisting of a number of players doing what they don’t do so well, and definitely not what they’re paid for. As it happens there was a bit of singing action the previous evening as Dean Smith had asked Sean Ridley (Senior Communications Officer) to give the assembled throng a song. As it happens Sean does have a voice worth listening to (by that I mean he can sing) and he chose, albeit unprepared, to sing “What You Own” from the musical Rent which he appeared in about eight years ago. It obviously went down well as he’s been booked again for the last night.

Anyway, back to Sunday night. The new boys: Manny Onariase, Luke Daniels, Henrik Dalsgaard and Kamo Mokotjo were asked collectively to give their joint rendition of a Spice Girls track “I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want” which, I’m given to believe as I fortunately didn’t have to endure it, saw Henrik excel.

On Monday night they have to perform individually, songs which were nominated by Justin Shaibu, Lewis MacLeod and Tom Field and then chosen by Simon Royce. I can’t wait, but there again I’m not there. 

There was also a penalty competition, although this was a penalty for oversleeping Sunday morning and missing breakfast, which meant that Rico Henry and Florian Jozefzoon, had to take to the stage. Sladey, who has been upgraded to compere in my absence, then introduced the duo “Florico” who performed a rap song from Drake! Sounds a quality evening although not sure of what the quality was.

Catch up with what's happening again tomorrow.

Peter G.


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