I finally looked up the image that was taken by a commercial photographer on Alpe D’Huez and broke down and ordered a digital copy. The other 2 images are canned that came free with my shot.
Myrna and I watched the finish from the grandstand on the Champs Elysee, a great place from which to see the 8 laps that traditionally finish the Tour. We went direct from there to the Paris Dinner Cruise on the Seine.
With an extra day to spend in Paris we visited the Cathedral Notre Dame, the Louvre and took the opportunity to enjoy some slow meals off the bike.
What a trip.
Saturday found us in St. Armand Montrond for the crucial final time trial. Despite the hopes of thousands of flag-draped Aussies, the time trial changed nothing and Carlos Sastre was crowned the winner a day before the ride into Paris.
While we waited for the leaders, Myrna and I spent the afternoon exploring the small town of St. Armand…enjoying an impromptu picnic in the square.
The stage was won by Schumacher of Gerolsteiner, and a wasted Cadel Evans was only able to take 30s out of Sastre. CSC put its final stamp on the Tour, taking the White Jersey for Andy Schleck and the Yellow for Sastre.
We spent the night in Vichy, and we set out early to ride along the stage route through the feed station at St. Pourcain sur Sioule and then on to Chantelle. From there, Chris and I relied on our map and french skills to tour through the countryside and back to Vichy. A beautiful rolling ride by fields of sunflowers.
We returned to Vichy by 1pm, time to have a quick shower, meet up with Myrna and walk the 3 blocks to main street to await the tour’s passage.
Once the riders had gone through, we had time to spend pursuing other interests…shoes, chocolate and Vichy’s famous spas.
Today was the 3rd and last day of our Live the Dream package. After an early breakfast at the Hotel the riders among us flew down the 21 hairpins of Alpe DHuez. We then rode on to Bourg D’Oisans to enjoy VIP access to the Start Village and riders enclosure. Graham Baxter took us to meet the Caisse D’Epargne team and had Luis Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde sign my jersey.
It was fun to be in the area, check out the bikes up close, and see how it all happens before a stage start. The riders have to push their way through an incredible throng to get to the start…stopping to take pictures with fans all along the way.