Thursday, July 4, 2013

at le tour

You want to get there early for a good spot and have no idea about what kind of crowd will be there, so you leave the house (with Sandie and Jenny) an hour before you need to be there.  Parking: no problem.  Finding a spot: no problem.  Food: S & J walk into Maussane for provisions, including sunscreen.  You set up shop at the sprint finish line just outside Maussane, along with a couple from Great Britain who've done several tours, and a Dutch man and his tall, long-haired son, who have a house nearby and have biked over.  The Brits will wave a South African flag, hoping his brother in SA will see them as the sprinters cross the line.

It is high noon and scorching hot when the Tour caravan comes by.  It is possibly the most obnoxious assemblage of unusually outfitted cars, annoying horns, advertising schwag and French zaniness you can imagine, which makes it good clean fun.  Once you endure that, the quiet that follows for another couple hours before the cyclists arrive is refreshing.

But when they arrive: attention!  You film the finish as the bikes flash past on the flat road, and two minutes after it's over you can barely remember seeing them or what it sounded like when they went past.  Better to go to the mountains say the Brits, that way you can see the riders from a distance as they wind their way up to the summit.  Of course, you have to arrive at the mountain pass several days early and set up camp, and since there's only one way up and one way down, sometimes it takes a day or two to get off the mountain.  Maybe next year.

 Greipel (L), first; Cavendish, second; Sagan, fourth.

Le peleton.

Le 100e anniversaire de la Tour de France in tomatoes, melons, eggplants and other assorted fruits and vegetables!

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