I’m the Gatorade Green Bottle and I'll be on every Team Sky bike - you can follow my story throughout the Tour de France.
STAGE 18 (Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde, 222.5km
The Team had negotiated the Pyrenees and the yellow jersey was now close to being secure. My fellow Gatorade Green Bottles and I were satisfied that we’d played our part in cycling history.
One thing I’ve noticed throughout the Tour is that when we have been delivered to the riders, we have often been placed in the hands of the rainbow jersey. At first we didn’t understand. The most prolific stage winner in the tour doesn’t collect bottles? He lives the protected life, every want and need served by his band of helpers. Yet his routine has been repeated throughout the toughest parts of the tour. It shows the measure of the man - willing to do his bit to help create history.
So when I was handed to the Manx Missile with 40km to go, I could have ended up with any one of the team. But I was indeed going to ride with the rainbow jersey on what was to prove a special day...
For the chance to ride with Wiggo in the Bradley Wiggins sportive, tell us where your Green Bottle has been today on Facebook or by tweeting @GatoradeUK with the hashtag: #GBottleStory
STAGE 16 (Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon, 197km)
Yesterday's stage was absolutely brutal, as the riders had to face the Col de Tourmalet - the highest mountain in Le Tour.
This is always a tough challenge by any standards, but this year the riders had to first negotiate the Hors Categorie Col d’Aubisque and then the crest of the Tourmalet by the half way point! Plus the riders had to make these climbs with 30 degrees of heat on their backs and more than 40 degrees coming off the road.
STAGE 11 (Albertville to La Toussuire, 148km)
We were approaching the Col de la Croix de Fer and I was in one of the new team cars (very nice), ready and waiting. The Col de la Croix de Fer is the second Hors Catégorie climb that the riders had to tackle during this brutal stage of Le Tour. Hors Catégorie is French for really really tough.
There was plenty of chatter on the car radio. The team checked in on their riders having already negotiated one HC climb. Then the message came through – Christian Knees was dropping back to collect me and a host of other bottles. We were needed to fuel the riders as they prepared for the highest summit of the day. Within moments, I was handed out the window and stuffed down the back of Christian’s shirt. He put in one last effort to get to the front of the peloton and passed us out to the riders. Result – I was handed to Mick Rogers.
STAGE 9 (Arc-et-Senans to Besançon, 41.5km)
What a day that was!
In Monday’s time trial Team Sky laid down a marker. Time trials are an anxious day for a bottle as you can be left waiting around until it's your time to start. Yet my day was over quite quickly as I was riding the 41.5km with Bernie.
It’s always great fun riding with Bernie - he is a bit like Action Man in many ways. A real leader, charging up to the front, shouting to Cav as they approach the intermediate sprints and taking turns on the front at the finish to stretch the peloton out – the sort of rider that makes Team Sky what it is.
So whilst I was not expecting to be on the winning bike today - I definitely was on a fast rollercoaster of a ride - twisting and turning and much faster than usual! My job was done as I was thrust into the air and as I tumbled, exhausted, drained of all my liquid, to the road about 10km from the finish.
STAGE 8 (Belfort to Porrentruy, 157.5km)
There was a lot of excitement when we got picked up this morning. What a performance yesterday - to get Wiggo in the yellow jersey was awesome. But we overheard the chat in the bus on the way home – this was only just the start of Le Tour ‘proper’.
Looking out of the Team Sky car up the category 2 climb of Côte de Saulcy, it became clear that these shorter medium mountains were going to be tough and hotly contested stages.
Suddenly the window dropped and the sound of rushing wind and cheering fans filled the cabin. Before I knew it, I was outside and riding in the presence of royalty – Yes I was with the king of the mountains and king of the nose plugs, Froome dog. And where better to be with the king than approaching the Col de la Croix - The last climb before we would descend 16km to the finish.
STAGE 3 (Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer, 197km)
After Cav’s perfectly timed sprint in Stage 2 to win his 21st Tour stage by not much more than a bottle cap, today I was riding with Wiggo.
There’s a fine line between chaos and order, and on this day we all needed to navigate that line in order to survive. With short, steep climbs, technical descents and treacherous corners in a speeding peloton, staying safe and upright was half the battle for us.
One moment Wiggo was gearing up with the pack for the chase, the next all hell broke loose. With riders going down all around us, he did a great job of staying focussed and getting through it. Unfortunately all of Team Sky weren’t that lucky, and word came through that Kosta was hurt and his Tour was over.
In all the confusion we were crammed in the bunch on our own coming up to the line. And through the mass of pumping legs we could just see Eddy producing another great final climb to pick up a well-deserved second place.
A dramatic day, but another successful one for us none the less with our fourth podium in as many days.
STAGE 1 (Liège to Seraing, 198 km)
I was riding with Eddy on Stage 1. A day that was just as eventful as we had anticipated. A fast tailwind finish, a nervous peloton, a few crashes and a strong fight for position. Not exactly a leisurely Sunday drive.
The steep climbs favoured my Norwegian lieutenant, and with less than 2km to go, I could see that we were in the perfect position to bridge across to Cancellara and Sagan and secure at least a podium finish on that steep final climb.
Froomey picked up a puncture at the worst possible moment, Richie and Christian stayed to help him as we shot forward with the peloton at full tempo. I heard through the peloton that Mick went down, meaning in the space of five minutes, we were down four men.