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Conquer the Ventoux
By Anita van Crey
Date: 7/16/2002
Conquer the Ventoux
Riders ride their bike, eat, sleep.....When they wake up in un petit hotel in La Douce France, some of the members of their team have been working for some time allready. Those same men (and some women) too await in patience for the bunch, on it's way and at the finish. Who we are talking about? Yes, the soigneurs.

While the riders are in the building being presented to the public in Luxemburg, both the Rabobank-soigneurs lean relaxed against the teamcars. Carel Israel watch all walk by: "I can not compare the three big tours so far, this year is my first Tour de France. But I think all is well organised for is to work in the Giro, the hotels there are most suitable. The only thing with this years Giro for instance was you had to drive for over an hour to even get to the hotel. Arrival there, dinner and massage. You can only do about three riders per soigneur...we at Rabobank devide the work, the one who works at the finishline massages one more. This Tour I'm the one who prepares things in the hotels for all stages...als stages except the mountain-stages. I brought my minocullars, hope the weather will be nice. I look forward to the Ventoux, was there myself on holiday earlier this year. The last three days, I wanted to climb the mountain myself, but two days before we planned to go home it rained cats and dogs. So I cancelled the climb. The next day, the weather was just fabulous....I took my bike and conquered the Mont Ventoux. Sure no easy thing, when you arrive above the three-level it really, and I mean really gets steep. I was so glad I could stop for a while near Tommy Simpson....."

Carel's colleagues in this years Tour de France are Dries Bos and Ton van Engelen. Ton van Engelen is the propably most experienced. He lived a live of sports so far, being a professional soccer goal keeper for both PSV and Uefa-Cup winner Feyennoord during the late 1970-s and early 80's.

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