Sunday, July 25, 2010

We headed to the Louvreto wander to the Champs as Mark has nick named it (pronounce Champs as in champion). After Jac quickly directed him in the

right direction, they made their way through the Tuilleries Gardens to the Place De la Concorde. After the 50km warm up ride there was going to be a 60 km

Crit around the Champs-Elysee, past the place de la Concorde and the Louvre with a sprint to watch the final stage.

However, as a mater of urgency, Jac needed a bathroom pit stop. Yep - there were toiletts close to the gardens where we met Kylie and Mark on the First

day. On the Champs-Elysee. At the park opposite the finish line. At the park where you need to pay 500E for a ticket. At the park which requires bird cage

access.This town was in lockdown and each corner had dejected people passing back through it.

After passing the boutiques of Pierre Cardin, Hetrmes, Bvlgari, Jac and Mark shared a boutique Coffee at a boutique price to access a toilet. Ahhh the relief it

bought. The coffee was a brief distraction and after it cooled, we were on the road again to secure our place overlooking the place de la concorde.

Clode to mid day we found our seats - free of charge. Courtesy of the good people of Paris the metal chairs that are used to watch the grass grow or the

water bubble from the fountain in the gardens were now supporting our derieres. To our right was the spanish flag and to our left were the Australians from

Yarra Junctiion.

Trevor and Dave from Ballarat joined Team JMC. They'd been on the cycling tour in the pyrenees and had ridden the Champs-Elysee that morning.
The little kids race providing us with entertainment. Swapping riding stories, and the big screen ahead of us provoding ride updates.

The peleton was in party mode and warmiing up. But still under race control from the Depart, we watched the free publicity unfold. It appears that

Radioshack had swapped Jerseys and were asked by ASO to return to their initial colours. Lance did not looked impressed - the alternate Jersey heaily

promoted Radioshack. The peleton was stopped and they were pictured swapping jerseys and numbers. Then almost in protest, Lance was riding without

race numbers. Not long after, ASO must have stepped in and stopped Lance for he then had is numbers flapping around in the breeze in a flippant sign of

conformaity to the rules of the ASO. Jac and Mark learned later they had signed in dressed in their correct garb.

So we sat and watched. not long after the peleton's arrival, the attack occurred with 11 in the race. The gap went out to 25 -30 s to the peleton. Then their

time was up. HTC train was chuffing along. We could watch it unfold on the big screen.

The Americans to the right had fallen asleep. The warm sun, wine and beer had worked their magic. They were also disappointed when Jac and Mark

advised that while their was a win available for the stage, the grand race. So much for their plans for barracking for the cyclist from Luxembourg - what's his

name again?

The peleton started to pick up the pace again and with 3 laps to go, the action started to happen. The break away was caught on the last last lap and

another exciting finish was ahead of us. The train of HTC had been disrupted and just like the finish in Bordeaucx, Cav was going to have to use someone

else to deliver him to the line. The Mannx Cat pounced on Petacchi's wheel then lept forward. The 25 yr old had plenty of space as his crossed the line.

The polite French crowd clapped. The Schleck supporters yelled Allez Andy and the Spaindards cheered Contador as he crossed the line.

Just before they headed for home an Australian tourist stoped jac who still had the Australian Flag drapped over her. Was there a cycling race on today? Has it finished? Where are the presentations? Who won?

Nice lady - but for the next 24 hrs - please don't admit you're Australian.

And so Contador clinched his 3rd Tour title and Team JMC folded up the EMCC jersey. But of more important things.... the headlines on CNN not CNNN
report "Leaders debate bumped off TV cook off"So who did win Master chef??

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