The last few months have been one wild ride. The last few weeks a flood of anticipation. The last few days, well, I can’t wait for things to get underway.
By
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

Seven of us, Catherine, Dave, Ryan, Dom, Mark, Mike and myself, have flown some ten thousand miles (yep, we're in England) to the start of the 101st Tour de France in Leeds, and until yesterday, I was feeling every one of them.

But this ain't no holiday, and 16 hour days have a way of pushing the jet-lag aside, and keeping the task at hand, front and centre. The head throbs, the fatigue mounts, but the adrenalin of being here, at the Tour, keeps the cogs ticking over.

We've been based in Harrogate, a former getaway of the Victorian era aristocracy, and now a sleepy little town, down the A76 from Leeds. The Old Swan, a 19th century hotel, as beautiful as the Austen-esque surrounding countryside, has been our base of operations.

Nice digs, if only we spent much time there. Most of our days have been tied up following teams, or at the Tour's bloated press compound, floating from one press conference to the next. And yesterday evening, to some fanfare, to the official Grand Depart team presentation.

Hype, hype, hype.

Soundbite, soundbite, soundbite.

It's been frenetic and I'll be glad when the racing gets underway. There's only so much speculation about the speculation one can pedal before it begins to tire. Ha. Puns.

Notes from the scrum

I don't think I'm alone, either, in tiring of the pre-race media bubble.

Mark Cavendish, at the Omega Pharma-Quickstep presser sprouted the same word-for-word statement about the Tour's start in Yorkshire only being a small part of the overall race, four separate times, to the bemusement of the Tour's press pack. It bordered on rude but it was nothing compared to what came from Sagan.

He treated the press conference as a joke, derided the journalists present, and appeared utterly disinterested in even pretending to 'play along'.

Dismissive, short answers, some outright insulting to serious queries from the press pack built, until this golden series of dialogue:

Question: Can you beat Cavendish in Harrogate on Saturday?

Sagan: I will try.

Question: You've been compared to Sean Kelly in the past, do you see yourself developing into a similar rider to him in the future, perhaps even taking on a Grand Tour?

Sagan: Look back at my answer to this question from last year.

Question: I hear you have a tattoo, can you show it to us?

Sagan: I don't, oh wait… do you want me to show you?

Pulls up his pant to his knee and gestures to, something, the press pack, peers ever closer, and then he reveals there's nothing there, and laughs.

The press conference was bizarre; and as much as Sagan's behaviour was childish, as one colleague later suggested to me, the journalists present fed off his theatrics in a way that only further encouraged him. Both parties were to blame.

It also got me thinking. Sagan, like Cavendish has fielded hundreds and hundreds of the same, or similar questions over the last few weeks, perhaps even months, and now that he's here, faced with a final battery, is he perhaps human, to call out the circus in front of them and respond to in the way it responds to him? To dismiss the idea of repeating himself for the umpteenth time, and just laugh at the absurdity of it all? Maybe, I'm not sure.

Culinary highlight

Yorkshire pudding would be the obvious choice, but it's been the local ales that have had piqued my taste buds most. Yorkshire Pale Ale. Yum.

SBS will broadcast and stream online all stages of the Tour de France LIVE. Click here to add the schedule times to your calendar.