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A 5 1/2 hour stage gives you plenty of time to think. So here's what im wondering. If you are Garmin, and you are looking for a team car to drive at slow/stop & go speeds through small towns and mountains for 8 hours + per day, all the while talking on a microphone and planning strategy..... why in Gods name do you buy a STICK!!! I feel genuinely bad for Matt White driving a manual transmission under the above circumstances. At one point he was talking on the microphone with his right hand and shifting with his left (with cell phone in lap). Man! Pony up for the automatic! I cant think of a worse scenario for a stick than TDF team car.
 

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More generally, I've always been impressed with the level of distracted driving going on in the race caravan.

As a roadie, our biggest enemy is the cell phone-coffee-makeup-two kids in the back soccer mom who can't seem to stay out of the bike lane.

As a tour rider, your biggest ally is the microphone-water bottle-race telemetry-mechanic in the back DS who somehow manages not to stack it up with the Gerolsteiner and Quickstep cars.
 

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RkFast said:
Any driver worth his salt and over the age of 10 knows that a manual transmission gives you infinitely more control of a car.
true, but in this situation it is just one more thing to have to mess with.
 

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Driving in Europe often needs cars with different requirements to cars State-side. Automatics SUCK on twisty roads. There is a good reason why the vast majority of cars in Europe are stick shift.

I can just imagine how bad that last rental I picked up would be over there.....a Ford Taurus whose mission was to constantly hunt for the 'right' gear. I can just imagine it downshifting half way through a fast corner. Or worse still: upshifting while braking into a corner. Uggghh.
 

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I seem to remember I read somewhere that the team cars are supplied by the sponsor - in this case, Skoda. Of course, my memory has been known to be faulty every once in a while...
 

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haole from the mainland
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After 20 years of driving only manual transmission cars, I bought an automatic a few years ago. I now live on a ridge and drive switchbacks up and down every day. I'd really much rather have a manual transmission.

Even on slight inclines I notice the car never shifts when I would, and I prefer being able to downshift to help me slow down. I'll never buy another automatic.
 

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when I was in germany for a month i searched for an auto car every single, car, truck, van, anything was all manual....

probably CAN'T get any auto if they wanted one...which I doubt they want one.:thumbsup:

Chad
 

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Nimitz said:
when I was in germany for a month i searched for an auto car every single, car, truck, van, anything was all manual....

probably CAN'T get any auto if they wanted one...which I doubt they want one.:thumbsup:

Chad
I grew up in a European city. I recall when I was around 9 or 10, a new car arrived in a friend's driveway. His Dad had just brought home a new Datsun (IIRC). It was an automatic. We all thought his Dad was really weird.
 

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I'm always amazed at the driving in the caravan.... Did you see the team car trying to hand off a rain cape to one of the breakaway riders on stage 15 (can't remember which one, not Garmin though) on that narrow road flying down hill!!

And... could you imagine if the Lincoln-Navigators would have made it to the tour.. and the giant Lincoln-Navigator on the narrow French roads in the caravan!

I would prefer a stick as well.
 

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haole from the mainland
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Uprwstsdr said:
The question is why is Matt White of any of the other DS's driving at all? wouldn't be easier if there were a driver and the DS's sat in the passenger seat and focused solely on the race?
As someone who gets carsick easily, it's a lot better being in the driver's seat vs. passenger seat. Back seat is the worst, of course.
 

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Automatics are for grandmas--- and seriously, if you take your driving test with an automatic, you get a special license where you can only drive an automatic. A dealer would probably have to special order an automatic--- especially for a little Skoda.


Funny thing-- we were in Spain a few weeks ago, and called Avis to rent a car and asked for something roomy for five people. They said not to worry, they had a large car for us. We ended up in a Seat Leon--- which I assure you is not large car. Of course it was manual. Can you even rent a stick in the US?

bigpinkt said:
Automatics are rare in Europe. Most drivers like to have more control over the car.
 

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AJL said:
Plus gas is even more expensive than in the US, so the couple extra mpg of a manual are worth it.
That's old school thinking. With modern automatic transmissions, fuel mileage is a moot point. For instance, the 2008 Honda Civic 5-speed manual gets 26 city/34 highway, while the 5-speed automatic gets 25 city/36 highway.
 

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CoffeeBean2 said:
I seem to remember I read somewhere that the team cars are supplied by the sponsor - in this case, Skoda.
Yes but Skoda is also the official sponsor of the Tour and the tour supplies each team with Skoda vehicles for use during the course of the race.

An intersting tidbit that I remeber from last year's tour, Team Discovery DS Johan Bruyneel's (now with Astana) driving was so bad and because of the damage he had caused to other vehicles, he was required to get a driver as the ASO banned him from driving any vehicles on course for the remaining stages.
 
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