Conversation: Magical History Tour

Prologue: Nine Men In
Brest, France

Thousands of people are jammed into a sunken square facing the severe, columned facade of City Hall in this seaport at the far western end of bicycle-crazed Brittany to witness a grand, quaint and corny Tour de France ritual, the team presentation.

Like athletic models strutting down a runway, the elite invitees to cycling's most prestigious event will wheel out on shiny, state-of-the-art bikes, wearing gear as yet unsullied by road grime or blood or scandal.

The first of the 20 teams to be introduced is the only one making its Tour debut, although some of its riders are veterans. Garmin-Chipotle's presence here is the culmination of a bold experiment.