Thursday, 24 July 2008

Le Tour de France

Our view of the cyclists

The Tour de France! The most well-known cycling event in the world. And today we went to be a part of it - well not the race, but the crowd. We spent an hour or so last night on the computer looking at the course details and trying to find a place where we would be able to get a good view of the cyclists. The Google Maps "street view" function was helpful and very interesting. We decided that the climb out of Tullins would be the best, closest spot for us.
This morning we tried to get a fairly early start, at about 8am. We knew we would have to be early to get a really good spot (lots of campervans stay overnight to ensure a good spot), and that the road is closed several hours before the cyclists go through.
We ended up on the roadside at about the 75km mark. There wasn't much room on the roadside, and the hill dropped away quite steeply, so there was no flat space to set up the picnic table we had taken along. The crowd soon built up so that by the time the pre-race "caravane" went through the road was fairly well lined on both sides. The caravane is like a street parade made up of sponsors' floats and support vehicles. About 200 vehicles pass by in about 45 minutes, and they hand out little promotional items like caps, hats, pens, keyrings, sweets, bags, and on and on. The best little thing I got was a cloth for cleaning glasses/lenses from the official opticians of the tour. Sophie's favourite was the water bottle like Cadel Evans has, which came from the team support car during the race (they saw our Australian flag). But we got nowhere near as much stuff as fellow bloggers "French for a while" got when they went! Click Here to see how lucky they got...

C'mon Aussies!

We took our Australian flag to wave, so I hope the Aussie cyclists saw it and appreciated the support. They didn't have much time to look, because they sped by pretty quickly, even though they were going up hill.

The first cyclist we saw was Carlos Barredo

Then came these two - Burghardt on the right was the stage winner

And then the Pelleton...

All of a sudden what we had come for was over!
But I took hundreds of photos - mostly of the caravane - and here are a few of them.

A giant yellow cyclist!

This is the easy way to do it!!

Hot chocolate on wheels!

La Vache qui Rit...

Horse racing...

Reaching out for goodies...

Reading the newspaper...

Lollies... (please)

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