So the prologue is completed and there were no real surprises.
Cancellara's win was brilliant, but expected, and all the favorites for the overall finished close enough to each other to call the race for the yellow jersey a dead heat at this point.
Hey, but there is more to the Tour than just the results! Just making a Pro Tour team's Tour squad is a huge accomplishment.
But, wait, there's more. Because the Tour is so special (TIOOYK) most teams make a number of special preparations and a lot of it is about cool swag!
First off, most teams provide their riders with brand new bikes.
Some of the new machines are technological improvements over their existing rides while others are the same trustworthy design with new paint and decals to commemorate the Tour. If you've got a new bike, you need new clothes, eh? Many teams take on new sponsors either specifically for the Tour or for the long haul and their logos need to adorn the team's riders. A new bike and kit go a long way in making the riders feel special and provide extra motivation.
But, it doesn't end there. New dress shirts, T-shirts, sweats all sporting "Tour" special logos may be in the offing, especially if a major new sponsor is in the works. Then there are the knick-knacks that just never seem to end. One year, Team Motorola had special hand-held fans, complete with the official Tour de France logo, made to keep their riders cool when off the bike.
The pre-Tour Christmas just never seems to end, but sooner or later the riders have to race their bikes. Time to play with all their presents will come later.