Words/Images: Chris Auld

Our second instalment of Behind the Lens – Tour de France. Chris Auld, one of our key photographers on the ground in France, tells us some tales of life behind the camera at the race and all the drama that goes with it.

The final rest day saw the final round of COVID 19 Tests for riders and team staff, a mass testing conducted at a local sports centre in the rest day city of Grenoble. Will the Tour reach its final destination or will it succumb to the virus or government local legislation, which seems to be putting more and more restrictions on the race.

The most obvious of these was on stage 15, three categorised climbs with almost no fans, I say almost no fans, the mountains are criss-crossed by remote footpaths, and are almost impossible to police. As we drove along the course we would see small groups hiding from the gendarmerie, waiting to break cover once the race arrived.

At the summit of Grand Colombier the majority of the crowd were TV crew, race staff or invited guests.The race continued as normal, with the commentary PA still blasting out, and the promotional caravan that precedes the race everyday still rolling on through. As the race neared spectators who had dodged detection began to appear on the hill side, at this point it was too late to do anything so had a ring side seat to watch the Pog and Rog show unfold.

So what will the final week bring, will the race get to Paris or will the tightening of the rules be its demise.