Photography: Russ Ellis
Sky High – Tour de France 2017
This was my first Tour de France as the embedded photographer with Team Sky. I had also shot the Giro with the team in May, but the Tour is a different animal altogether — it’s not nicknamed the circus for nothing.
Everything you could want to take pictures of while at a bike race is there, but moving around in the huge crowds and trying to capture unique images when there are so many other photographers there is a challenge! But it’s one I love.
Being embedded with Team Sky is a real privilege; I get access to the riders and staff as they go about their work for the best part of a month. Being able to get images from the team bus pre-stage is a documentary photographer’s dream — along with access to the riders as they recover on an evening with dinner and massages.
I travelled around the race in a number of ways, sometimes in the van with the swannies covering the start, feed zone and then the finish. Other days I travelled with some of my photographer colleagues in their cars, allowing us to make numerous stops on the stage to get unique images from the day’s racing. I was also lucky enough to spend a few stages in the number one team car in race.
On the final stage, at the end of the race in Paris, I was able to access the finish line ‘circus’ tent with the team and other jersey winners. This was a highlight of the Tour as I got to hang out with and take pictures of the racers as they finally began to wind down from a crazy three weeks of racing around France.
If you liked this story consider purchasing Soigneur Cycling Journal 18 where it was first printed.