Arriving in Paris late at night on the train from Grenoble, we took a taxi to our hotel. Next morning we were up early because today was the Rabobank day… the prize day.
First we joined some other Rabobank guests for croissants and coffee at the hotel.
The second to last day of the tour, and it certainly was going to be the “test of truth” for Cadel and Andy. The start-finish was in a huge park in the centre of Grenoble, and the “apparatus of the tour” managed to fill almost the entire park. It’s a long day for spectators with the first rider away at 10:30am and the last rider not home till after 5pm
After spending the night in Grenoble, we were ready to watch our first stage. Today the riders were going from Pinerolo in Italy to the top of the Col du Galibier, marking the 100th anniversary of the first climb of Galibier in the tour. Wisely (as it turned out) we abandoned plans to drive to the base of Galibier, and instead took a 150km round trip through Italy to Briancon, the last town before the finish of the stage. The trip included passing through the Fréjus Road Tunnel which connects France and Italy, and is very impressive at 13km long.
The famous Alp d’Huez… The only Dutch mountain in the Tour de France… Apparently whenever it is included in the Tour, it triggers a mass invasion of Dutch cycle fans. I can vouch for a huge number of “N” number plates. With memories of the traffic on the last Alp stages fresh, we decided to drive 20km to the Logi (small, private hotel), and check in and then drive an alternate route, via the Col d’Ornon, which meets the main road near Bourg D’Orsons (The town below Alp d’Huez).
Leaving the Pyrenees behind, but still following the path of the tour, albeit a couple of days behind, we headed east to the city of Carcassonne.
When we arrived at Carcassonne we were all Who could believe that it wasn’t designed by Walt Disney? It’s such a perfect castle, it’s a cliché of castles!