June 30, 2017 0 Comments
I arrived in Germany from the UK yesterday morning, looking forward to the start of another epic Tour de France. After spending the day running around between various team hotels, the ASO 'permanence' at the exhibition space to the north of the city to collect my official accreditation, and then the Team Presentation in Bergplatz towards the centre, it was a relief to finally sit down at around 9pm and finally get my first taste of German bier this trip.
For the Düsseldorf Grand Depart 2017 we have a new gadget to play with courtesy of mobile phone company Huawei. Their flagship P10 smartphone features Leica Dual Lens, and we are using it exclusively to capture our images from this year’s Grand Départ as part of Huawei's "ShowWhatYouLove" series. Bare with me over these next few days as I get to grips with this new bit of kit!
As many of you may already know my background in cycling has had a close connection with the mobile phone industry, having spent time with T-Mobile and HTC. I keep in regular contact with my former Deutsche Telekom colleagues, based in Bonn, and when it was announced that The Tour was coming to the Rhineland I contacted my colleagues to discuss a few options.
Following the sound advice of a guy a used to work closely with, who happens to be a very talented photographer, I got in touch with Huawei. He had recommended their P10 as having the best phone camera currently available. I discussed together with their office, based in Düsseldorf, the possibility of a project to shoot a series of Tour de France images exclusively using the P10.
We have addressed the concept of “German Efficiency” at length previously, and I've no desire to perpetuate that particular stereotype. However… the P10 arrived approximately 12 hours before I was due to leave my house to board a flight to Düsseldorf the next day. Just sayin.
Like all gadget obsessed blokes I had to open the box immediately and start to play. The P10 camera software was remarkably intuitive to get to grips with, and even at first glance appeared to be packed with lots of cool features and functionality. We'll see how quickly I get my head around the different settings.
The flight to Germany was pretty smooth, despite holiday length queues at Manchester Airport. After getting a few appointments out of the way upon arrival I ditched my bag at my hotel and decided to hire a city bike to get up to the ASO Press Centre. Rather unexpectedly, I managed to find this bad-boy beach cruiser!
The friendly ASO guys quickly sorted out my pass and roadbook, so after a quick mooch around the Permanence, I returned to my trusty steed, bumping into the Orica-Scott team as they arrived for their Press Conference. As is now tradition, I recorded my local ride on Strava, and a very pleasant riverside cruise it turned out to be.
On the way back I even managed to find some cobbles to test my handling skills on!
On to the main event of the day and the Team Presentation. After searching for a vantage point amongst the crowds I eventually took up my position in the "Mix Zone" where the riders come through to give tv and press interviews. All the key riders stopped and I was able to say hi to a few familiar faces and get a few nice close-up portrait shots.
Maybe you recognise these two guys...both on great form for the cameras yesterday!
After nearly two hours watching the riders filter through its time for all the journalists to file copy and images for the next morning's media.
Today there are a few press conferences to attend, get some insight on the plans for the race, and then the ITT to look forward to tomorrow. I will post a gallery of images and a few more shots on instagram over the next few days.
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