AP photographers Thibault Camus and Daniel Cole captured the hidden face of the Tour de France with an exclusive and unique photo gallery — on top of their gripping, treacherous work to cover 21 straight days of the world’s premier cycling race.
Covering the Tour de France is especially grueling for photographers, who spend three straight weeks perched on the back of a motorcycle at breakneck speeds roaring up and down the Alps and other breathtaking and precarious routes. In addition to their daily coverage of the world’s premier cycling race, Camus and Cole were asked to come up with a photo project that went beyond the cycling itself. Based on past experience of viewing the crowds who follow the Tour, they decided to take quirky portraits of fans in front of a white backdrop that they dragged with them along the whole 3,504-kilometer race. Their sharp eyes for a good character, experience with past races, and source development with race organizers helped them pull off the project.
Writer Sam Petrequin, a veteran of many Tours, crafted a story to showcase their work in addition to writing remote stories on most of the stages of an exceptionally exciting race won by Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard. John Leicester, also a veteran of many Tours, crafted a digital video including Cole and Camus describing their project — speaking from the back of a speeding motorbike.