Friday, July 23, 2010

Kicked out - no more space for the tour de france.

Where are we now? Back in the captial of romance - Paris. Team JMC are reaching the end of their Tour De France. We only have to keep the pride in the Australian Flag for the next few days.

So with another couple of days away from Wifi access (it's wee-fee here not wy-fy) we're writing the next blog from a Laundromatt in the opera district of Parisl. It would be a great idea to have wifi here but we can post later.

We last left our journey writings North of Orleans on a village parking spot. We were heading for Paris on our second last stage of the driving holiday. For all the driving he'd successfully completed, Mark was looking forward to handing the keys back to Avis.

We set Tom Tom for Versailles - potentially three camping grounds within Km's of the Palace, close to the drop off depot and close to bars so we can

So as the saying goes something about the best laid plans being set aside... Two camping places became one when we realised they had changed names. All the while Mark performing docey does with little European cars in the narrow streets. After a telephone call, we headed back to the Palace and onto the Gardens and voila - a dodgey space of grass out the back of local bus depot a short walk from the Verailles Palace Gardens.

After a wait in the queues we headed for the beautiful sardine tin - so many people!! Breath taking was the Verailles Palace Hall of Mirrors, the gardens and the painting on the ceilings of the grand apartments. Did we mention the Chapel - covering two stories.

Just as important as the palace was the palace to watch the TV. It was the tourmalet - the grand tourmalet.

After checking out a few bars, we found a resturant/bar with a large TV. In kindess we ordered drinks, then chips then coffee. We were about to order more drinks when the TV was switched off. We weren't welcomed. The hint came earlier when the wanna be m'aitre de stoped serving us and sent the kitchen hand/bar man for our service. They were about to hit the Col du Solour. This mean that after a short descent they'd be starting the tourmalet. Sastre was in no mans land and there was a small echappee which included Burghardt, Flecha, Hagen.

As the cliche went = we walked this way and we walked that way. No bars with TV's!! Argghh. Jac sent team JMC down to a street and Voila a bar more than a resturant. A big TV people drinking not eating. ESPN which could mean english subtitles.

A few orders and Jac's broken French had ensured the TV channels weren't getting changed back. What team do you go for. Do you think Contador or Schlek will win the stage?

Saxo were in control - Stuey first, then contador had his turn at the front. Eventually it was just Schlek. At the same time Vino had dropped off for Astana. 10 kms from the top Schlek went on the attack and Contador followed. The race the organisers were looking for was on. The barman paused every time he was to pour a drink to watch.

At the 3 km mark, Contador attacked and Schlek responded. What was going to happen. Was Schlek going to attack or just set the pace. Could he step it up again. They were both hurting. Do you trust Contador to allow the now deserved win to go to Schlek?

And so it finished up - Schleck went across the line first in the fog that had descended the Pyrenees the days before. Contador retained the yellow. Rodriguez had limited his losses and Robbie eventually made it across the line and celebrated by crossing on one wheel.

The grand tourmalet.

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