Evans’ wheel after the tack attack. Photo courtesy Petar Tomich | Mavic
A tack in an Astana wheel. Photo courtesy Petar Tomich | Mavic
At the Tour, though, most days are different. Even on the biggest mountain stages the race splits into only a few groups, easily covered by team cars and mechanics. Neutral service is usually only called on a few times per stage, if at all.
Sunday’s stage from Limaux to Foix seemed to be the same. The first Cat. 1 climb, Port de Lers, saw the main field split — the breakaway was up front, as it had been all day, followed by the GC favorites and then a few smaller grupettos. The situation remained the same most of the way up the Péguère, with none of the favorites able to make a difference. Ordinary proceedings, completely manageable.
Then the tacks hit.
“We had already summited, then there were three calls over our radio,” recalled Petar Tomich, the “jumper,” or back-seat mechanic, in one of Mavic’s yellow-wrapped neutral support cars.
“The calls came in from the car behind us. Flat, then another flat, then another. Three consecutive, which is very irregular. The road seemed fine. I thought it would be odd to send people down a road they knew was going to shred tires.”
Tomich spends July behind and to the right of driver Freddy Bassy, a long-time Mavic employee and a man Tomich describes as “the best driver I’ve ever been with. Period.” Tomich himself is a five-year veteran of Mavic neutral service, and spent years as a professional mechanic.
The two were ahead of the GC favorites, rushing over the top of Péguère in an effort to get a head start on the large group. Even the
To read the whole story, visit here: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/07/tour-de-france/punctures-on-peguere-a-wild-day-for-mavic-neutral-service_230265