Germany, Iceland, France (& that Bike Race) & England

July, 2005

The Alps: Day 5, Le Tour - stage 11

This was our big plan. Ride as much of the Col de Telegraphe and Col du Galibier as possible and then watch the stage. Having driven this a few days ago we knew that this was a huge ride and decided to drive to Valloire and just ride Galibier as far as we felt was needed to get a good view of the race.

Waking at 6:00, driving by 7:00 and at Valloire by around 8:30 gave us an early and busy start. Col de Telegraphe was already crowded but luckily the roads were all still open. Finding parking was not easy but we did this for both cars, put the bikes together and headed up. Up again, and this supposed to be a holiday?

We had packed warm and wet weather gear, cameras, and food and water to last the day. This meant backpacks for all but Debbie who had a nifty seat post attached bag.

Plan Lachat
Graeme, Debbie, Fran and our bikes waiting
The surrounding mountains, yellow jersey in the paddock

We cycled 11.2 kms from Valloire to a great spot overlooking Plan Lachat and lots of road hundreds of metres below us. We were all pleased as we had now cycled a big chunk of this hill as well as Alpe D'Huez a few days ago.

We sat and waited, watching thousands of cyclist and pedestrians ascend beyond us to higher vantage points, though not always better ones (we knew because we had driven this route before). We had lunch, a snooze, took a few photos of the magnificent scenery, and then came the caravan. We scored really really well! (see photo).

Our takings for the day
A group of riders arrives below
The surrounding mountains

Eventually came the race - one rider! It was Vinokurov. Following some distance behind was Bottero! Then a big gap, and a few more riders, and finally a bigger bunch. From then on we had just a few other riders before another bunch, then a few more riders, then a third big bunch led by Robbie McEwen!(This was the autobus or laughing group as they ar sometimes called) A few stragglers passed and then it was the end.

Discovery team and Lance Armstrong

Getting home was slow because of all the cyclists, cars and motor homes, but eventually we did get there, shopping on the way. Graeme and Debbie cooked a wonderful meal of Turkey on Couscous with some yoghurt and stuff! It had been a great day with wonderful results.