Friday, July 9, 2010

A champagne party

Epernay, The home of Dom Perignon, the birthplace of champagne and our home for the next

two nights.

Epernay was the start of the 5th stage, and with a stroll around the town it was easy to

see Epernay was waiting for the tour to arrive. The gardens in the round abouts werre

wfilled with figurines of bikes and cycling.

The lorries were being unpacked ith their goods to set up the tours' birdcage, mounting

yard and start line. The signage was up and the gendarmes were supporting the number

number. A mix of industrial zones, beautiful old villages, luchness of the avenue de


After a brief ride up the hill to discover Hauteville, where Dom Perignon "acceidently"

discovered champagne, Jac returned with breakfast and lunch.

Into town and into the streets already filled with people. Local school groups had taken

the day off, many shops were shut in the morning.

We were here to see the stars of past and present - Hincapie, Millar, Contador, Husvod,

Bogdhart, Lance, Basso; soak up the atmosphere and see a glimpse of the behind the scenes

of the tour.

The tour is not much different to the Melbourne Cup- there is the birdcage where the VIPs

await the departure; the stables and the smaller areas cordoned off with the buses; the

stablehands or soigneurs; the sign in lieu of the weigh in, the race where you can see the

cyclists move from the security of their stables to reality of the race through to the

chief steward or commissaire.

As the buses pulled Australians pulled in to support their own and was a great opportunity

to share travel stories, bike stories, discuss the previous day's stage and the outlook for

today. The caravane went along the Avenue de Champagne and Jac had quickly worked out how

to get the attention of the European male models on the floats, she was also getting better

at taking the mark as the free products were thrown to the crowd.

Jac watched the sign in and cheered the Aussies as they lined up (sshhsh said the french)

"Go shepp boy" for Brett Lancaster, go aussie for Micky Rogers.

Mark took position to enable filming and what a great spot - along the race and the Aussie

contingent was loud. If come to see the stars, then it was see the stars we did - they all

had to go past to get to the starting line- name a cyclists and we would have seen them. A

huge cheer went up for Cadel as he came through. There are some great photos to be shared


Oh and the remainder of the and drinks in a pub to watch the apres depart; A

tour and tasting at Moet et Chandon (you do pronounce the "t"; an after noon at the pub to

watch the tour, drink beer and champagne, relax in the gardens of the hotel de ville, a

three course dinner at a resturant. A laugh at the aussies who chose their resturant with

logic - we ate here for lunch, so we'll try the one next door for dinner.

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