Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tour de France 2009 - Stage 4

part of the "Caravan"

The moment we have been waiting for, the Tour de France.  And instead of watching it (3) times on television is one day, (seriously we'd wake up early to watch it live, miss the finish because we would have to leave for the studio, so we'd come home in the afternoon and watch it again and then we'd watch the highlight show in the evening), we get to see it LIVE. 

This week we will be in Béziers for 3 nights and then over in Luchon, which is in the Pyrenees for 4 days.  We'll watch stage 4, 5, 8 and 9.  Then we'll go home for a few days and head back out on the 19th for Provence, we'll climb Mt. Ventoux and see stage 20, which should be amazing.

Stage 4 is the team time trial.  It started and ended in Montpellier.  Béziers is about 50 km from Montpellier, so we drove the car about 20 km and decided to bike in.  We couldn't decide if we should see the start or the finish, figured the finish would be good (they started and finished in different locations).  We road the bike path next to the course all the way until we ended up on the course.  The Astana team was out warming up and passed us.   We road the final 2 km of the course to the finish.  Pretty cool.

Astana out on a warmup ride

There's Lance

When we arrived at the finish, about 3 hours before the first team started, so we picked our spot and waited.  Right when we arrived we met Bill and Liam.  Liam is 8 years old and he met Lance Armstrong on a climb in the alps a few days before the start of the tour.  Check it out here Liam and Lance.   Liam is an amazing kid and a super cyclist and athlete.  He and I hung out together the whole race, we talked about loads of stuff, but mostly cycling and he taught me quite a bit about the tour, he knows everything about it!  He and his Dad Bill are here on a father/son vacation to follow the tour.  Bill is keeping a blog about the adventure, you can follow them to here, father and son tour 

They'll be heading over to the Pyrenees when we do, hopefully we can meet up again, because I would love to ride with Liam.

Watch for Liam in the tour someday!

funny "gift" from the caravan

just hanging out and waiting

chatting with Liam

OK back to the tour.  Before the race starts the "caravan" comes through, it's just a big parade.  All the sponsors have cars, floats etc...and they throw out goodies - candy, hats t-shirts, key chains, umbrella hats,'s pretty funny.  About an hour after the caravan the race started. The first team starts and then 7 minutes after that the next team goes, 20 team in all.  The TTT (team time trial) was amazing, it's great to see the whole team riding together and being at the finish was super cool.  Astana ended in first, Saxo bank 2nd and Columbia/highroad 3rd.  Lance almost got the yellow jersey (maillot jaune), but right now he's in 2nd.    It was a hot day but super fun.  We road back to the car, on the route again and headed back to Béziers for dinner.  

When we were here in February we saw a little Mexican restaurant called O-Mexicain, but it was closed for the slow season.  They were open and since we haven't had Mexican since September we had to go there for dinner.  It was amazing.  We had chicken fajitas and flour tortillas.  Excellent, not heavy or full of lard, just really good.  The owners were really nice and we are thinking of going back again before we leave.  If you are ever in Béziers you must check it out, you won't be disappointed.  

Stage 5 tomorrow.  Stay tuned.


La Framéricaine said...

You rock!!!

And Bruce better look out 'cause Liam is cute!!!

Have a blast and ride your butts off!

Lesley said...

Did you see today's finsh in barcelona? I was so disappointed that Millar didn't manage to kep his lead until the end.

Notre Vie Juteuse said...

LF - he's damn cute and actually pretty cool to hang out with too.

Lesley - We saw the whole stage (on TV) since we are not going over to Barcelona. Poor Millar, he was so close. Bummer to everyone else too, stage looked wicked and so many guys fell. Looking forward to seeing tomorrows stage - long and hard!

Lesley said...

Have a great time. Sorry about all the typos in my last comment, I've only just read it!