Friday 22 July – Bourg d’Oisans
Having made a plan du grand cunning a week or so ago, we picked up a car in Grenoble (after compulsive enormous breakfast in spite of not cycling today) and headed to Bourg at the foot of Alpe d’Huez. We finally had the chance to buy some Tour souvenirs, had a picnic by the river and then identified a perfect bar with Eurosport on TV, view of and access (via scramble up grass bank) to the course.
We watched the sensational day’s racing including 2 sorties to the roadside, firstly for the ‘caravane de publicite’, the legendary tat-throwing festival from giant haribo, vittel, and europcar sponsor vehicles, and secondly to see the race go by.
Photo: waiting for action on the course
For the former, we won’t take the high ground and pretend we weren’t in amongst it with everyone else, diving for a placcy keyring here, lunging for a polka dot cap there. And what about the PMU giant hand! What we can say though is that we were rank amateurs compared to the professionals surrounding us, using all limbs to catch things, thrusting adorable children into the oncoming traffic to attract the flow of gifts, and diligently stashing the goods out of sight to pretend to the next vehicle that they’d received nothing…
And for the latter, wow, the speed the riders came through was incredible, the leading contenders all in a bunch, straining every sinew, and the race concluded in high drama up the mountain we had enjoyed tackling only a couple of days ago.
Photo: Thomas Voeckler still in yellow here…
We then concluded our own sprint back to the car to race back to Grenoble ahead of the traffic and catch the train up to Paris.