Cycling Weekly caught up with Team Sky on Thursday morning as they went out to recce the start and finish of Sunday’s 198km first stage of the 2012 Tour de France from Liege to Seraing.

The team bus took the riders from their team hotel in Verviers out to the final 25km of the first road stage which the team then rode with Rod Ellingworth and Sean Yates at the helm of the two accompanying team cars.

The finale of Sunday’s stage takes the riders through the suburbs of Liege much like Liege Bastogne Liege as the final climb to the finish offers a sting in the tale. There is a section of climb at around 15 per cent to 17 per cent before a sharp left on to a 100m section of cobbles before a right turn takes the riders to the final 500m of the gentler incline to the finish line in Seraing.

Once the riders finished the finish climb they stopped briefly to regroup and then rode on to recce the first 20 or so kilometres of the same stage passing through Chaudfontaine before heading back to the team hotel.

Rabobank are also at the same hotel as Team Sky and Cofidis. Robert Gesink and co were there this morning checking out their bikes before heading off for their morning ride.

Rabobank look like they will be using the new Giro lid – a more enclosed shell form similar to a ski-ing or skateboarding helmet. See what you think as Wynants and Tankink sport the new Giro helmet.

This evening sees the teams in the centre of Liege for the traditional Tour’s team presentations from 18:30 local time.

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish

Servais Knaven checks Edvald Boasson Hagen’s bike

Edvald Boasson Hagen and Mark Cavendish head up the final climb in Seraing

Cobbled corner in finale

Drag to the finish in Seraing

Regrouping after the finish

Near Chaudfontaine

Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins with Sean Yates (right)

Bradley Wiggins goes solo

Wiggins solo

Bradley Wiggins

Wiggins’ Wigan Warriors shoe bag

Re-wrapping the Sky team bus

Bram Tankink in new Giro helmet

Luis Leon Sanchez looking relaxed

Final adjustments on Robert Gesink’s bike

Rabobank’s pre-ride chat

Related links

Tour de France 2012: Coverage index

  • max

    awful the Rabo helmet; my mum used the same thing for the christmas pud