Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The pave of the tour de france

If yesterday was big, then today is bigger. It is tour day. Thank goodness for Wifi and the net book

A speed read of cycling news, a fleeting glance at the sbs highlights and we had enough information that the wet hills of the liege bastonne liege had taken it's toll on the riders.

Tom Tom (thanks again Kylie and Mark) sent us off in the right direction and then with a little exploring (a huh) we found the tour arrows and they sent us down the second last section of cobblestones. The famous cobblestones of the one day classics. They were rough and we even had suspension on four wheels!

We pulled up in a shady position next to some silage bales and took to the feet. There is a real buzz and happiness amongst fellow spectators.But as we quickly discovered, a richmond jersey, an hat with an Australian flag, combined with a HTC jersey was plenty enough to attract much attention.

And talk about star gazing.... initially we were happy to see a fellow aussie, then to get cheers from the Belgique who called "aussie". We quickly worked out their favourite star, Robbie Mckewan had taken a fall and had come down.But then Mark's sharp eyes picked up the van of the famous red devil. the dude who get's dressed up, with the fork, runs onto the road. We went back and asked for an autograph. that was the highlight for the moment.

Up at the corner of the cobblestones, was a bar. the local pub had set up a position near to.

Then we were spotted by some other aussies. A group of four sitting on the side of the road. After a few minutes chatting, we were both starting to piece things together.... Australian Paralympic team, wheel chair, Bathurstites, don't say bad things about Mark Renshaw and we'd come across Mark Renshaw's fiancee and Kurt... one of Australia's most celebrated paralympian. We were stoked!

As the afternoon went on, people continued to stream in onto the pave, the atmosphere continued to build. Each time a car came through with lights, the question was asked, is it the caravan? The procession of sponsors cars that preceeds the peleton would inidcate they are an hour away.

Our position was next to an animated french man, his family and friends. The peleton was on the 5th pave, and Schleck had come down in a crash. The caravan had been and gone, and now we were waiting for the motorbike of the leader. We heard the helicopters at the same time.

There was a break away. We think it's tyler frarar from Garmin slipstream then the chasing echelon of Cancellera, another saxobank rider and our cadel. He was wearing the world championship jersey. Go cadel, go aussie. Mark got pretty close cheering when Cadel went by. That was great!! Cadel was fourth - I told our frenchman. He is Australian!! Allez Cadel! But there was more to come, many more. The peleton had broken up, so for the next few minutes there was a steady stream ofmedia, police, officials, team cars (don't get close) until we saw the last rider at the rear and the sag wagon. Well the tour had arrived!!

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