Sunday, July 24, 2011

La Tour de France

The final day of the Tour!  Oh, the excitement!  Oh, the crowd!  Oh, my aching legs from standing packed like sardines for 3 hours! 

Bill finally made it to the front, with me wedge in behind.  The wall across the street was jam packed too, but we had the closer view.
When you think of La Tour de France, bicycles pop into your brain, right?  Well, there is that, but La Tour has it's own entourage, complete with music, dancing, horns honking, and Anti-gas advertising!  What?  The sponsors, you know, where the money comes from to pay for all those expensive bicycle frames, tight pants and wildly colored shirts.
Get ready, here comes the parade!
A newspaper sponsor.

Need a pen?

Money tight?  These are the guys!

Kleber brought their old cars....

as well as their mascot, a Boxer.

I wish they had given us something to drink,
 With the sponsor vehicles, were also support vehicles.  Huge tour buses for each team to get around on, when they weren't on their bikes.  Semi trucks to carry all sorts of equipment.  Emergency medical vehicles for when they fall, like this year's winner did last year, breaking his elbow.  Ouch! 
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!

The Nestle Quik bunny never looked like this when I was growing up.

We needed sunglasses yesterday.  Although the forecast was for rain, we had beautiful sunshine. 
The sponsor caravan just kept coming.  It took more than an hour for all of them to pass by, then drive off the course to park behind the viewing stands.  There was a large screen TV so we could watch the rider's progress.  The only problem, for us, is all of Paris looks very similiar, unless there is a distinquishing monument added.  Even the locals didn't know where they were by looking, but they had the advantage of being able to understand the announcers, who talked for 3 hours straight, in very excited voices!!!  The one comment we both understood, "This is an amazing finish!"  We didn't know enough about what was going on to be amazed.

Even the police were beginning to wonder when we would see bicycles.
After more than an hour, waiting for the racers to arrive, here they came.  Bill took a video of the first lap, then switched to photos.  The first lap was led by the team of the man in the lead, an Australian, Cadel Evans and his teammates sponsored by BMC, a Swiss Bike company.  They were followed by everyone else.  For the next 8 laps, the group was divided in two;  the 6 leaders and everyone else.

The leaders of the pack.  The rider in the red and black on the right is the one who won.  The two men in white shirts with a bit of tourquoise on the shirt and helmets are the brothers from Luxembourg who came in 2nd and 3rd.
I found this out after we were back home.
As the riders sped by, everyone politely applauded, with a bit of cheering and whistling.  There were flags from all over, but quite a few from Australia, considering he was the winner.  We were filmed for TV, but you aren't likely to see us.   It was for Estonian television! 

The Pack. 
We ended the day sitting in front of a Spanish bar, with a large, cold beer. Next to us were three people visiting from Kentucky. When they left, a family from Italy took the table.  Great Day!

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