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Tour de France

Tour notebook: Pro homes, Tour matrimony, a Spanish reunion

More pros are moving to Andorra, a couple gets married at the Tour, and Brent Bookwalter is feeling better day by day.

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Our Tour de France reporters already bring you the biggest stories and best analyses every day. But what of the notes they scrawl in the margins, those little bits of gossip and narrative that are as much a part of the Tour as Chris Froome and the color yellow, but which rarely see the light of day? You’ll find those here.

Notes from the margins

Where the pros live
Pros are spread across Europe, but Andorra is becoming a popular new place to live. Thanks to its high altitude, relatively mild weather, and tax-free status, more than a few riders are migrating to the principality high in the Pyrénées. Svein Tuft has lived up there for a few years. Other new arrivals include Dan Martin and Simon Gerrans. Other hot spots for pros across Europe include Lucca in Italy’s Tuscany and Monaco, along the French Riviera, home to Chris Froome, Richie Porte, and others. The biggest European base is Girona, the bustling Catalan city about one hour north of Barcelona. Cannondale – Drapac sport director Johnny Weltz set up some of the Americans there in the late 1990s, and today, more than 100 elite athletes live there. “George Hincapie was the first one to move there,” Weltz said. “Later we brought Jonathan Vaughters, Christian Vande Velde. Then Lance [Armstrong] came, and ever since then, it’s the most popular place for the pros. The community has really opened its arms to the cyclists.”

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The bus returns
Tinkoff’s broken team bus will be back on Wednesday. The team has spent a week in a rented bus.

Bookwalter relieved to make it through
BMC Racing’s Brent Bookwalter was relieved he could make it to the Tour’s first rest day following his heavy crash in stage 1. “I am definitely feeling better and somewhat relieved to have gotten through the first week, especially the past couple of days,” Bookwalter said. “Seeing other guys like Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Michael Morkov (Katusha) — riders who went down hard on stage 1 and had to leave the race — it is definitely somewhat of a relief for me to reach the first rest day nine stages in. These first nine stages that I have done in every Tour are always super-demanding, and it is a long week — especially being a nine-day first week as opposed to a seven-day one. It is a big physical load, even at 100 percent, and I was a little compromised right from the beginning. So I am proud of how I pulled through and proud of the team around me for the guys being able to pick up a little bit of slack that I left for them at times. But I am also still proud to be able to contribute myself, even if I was not at 100 percent.”

Tour matrimony
A couple was wed on the Tour de France podium in Revel Tuesday, just a few hours before the race finished. They were then whisked away in the publicity caravan, driven into their future together on a giant rolling baguette.

Spanish reunion party
A lot of former pros were making the rounds at the start Tuesday in Andorra. Pedro Horrillo, Egoi Martinez, and Olympic track cyclist Joan Llaneras were seen making the rounds.

Coming up

Wednesday’s stage: Carcassonne to Montpelier, 162.5km. Another mostly flat affair, one for the sprinters. Perhaps the last day we see Mark Cavendish in the Tour de France?

Weather update: Quite comfortable, actually. The start town will see highs in the mid-70s on Wednesday.

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