Le Tour comes to town
France is gripped by Tour fever, as is normal for July. Even we have been gripped, as Le Tour came through Lyon last weekend. The riders arrived on Saturday afternoon at Gerland, then departed on Sunday morning from Givors. We headed a little further south to get a good look on Sunday morning.
We went to Beaurepaire, a town in the Isère department of the Rhône-Alpes. The riders were scheduled to head through around 11:30 but we arrived super early, at 9:15. Why ? To see La Caravane ! La Caravane is the vehicular procession of sponsors that proceeds the riders by nearly two hours. It’s very animated, with all sponsers vocally publicising their products and throwing all sorts of samples out the windows. You have to be careful not to lose an eye from a packet of washing detergent though, or to be knocked over by a grandpa trying to catch a cordial sample !
We had a good spot on the side of the road, and there weren’t too many people (except for the crazy grandpa !) around us. After the caravan passed, we were kept entertained by people watching, team and media cars driving through, trying to catch the attention of the Orica GreenEDGE cars (1 out of 3 noticed us and our little flags !) and eating our Haribo lollies. Then the riders arrived. The first few zipped through, then came Thomas Voeckler who nearly fell off because he was too busy looking behind him, then the rest. We spotted Froome and the chou-chou Rolland thanks to their jerseys, had time for a quick ‘Allez Cadel !’ and they were gone, a fast moving snake of lean, lithe, stupidly fit lycra-clad men. Not even time for a photo – maybe next year.
Vive le Tour !