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Archive for July, 2011

Tour d’France – Alpe d’Huez

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

The tour d’France finally got to Alpe d’Huez after all the anticipation and it certainly lived up to all expectations.

We became fully booked the day the tour d’France route was announced, Galibier twice, Alpe d’Huez and the final time trial in Grenoble what more could we want. We could have sold out Le Velo Jaune b&b Bourg d’Oisans a hundred times.

Over the last week we have watched Alpe d’Huez get busier and busier, I think there was over 50% of the worlds camper van population on the Alpe. I have never cycled up in so much, 4 times in 4 days with both friends and guests each time with more to look at. The Dutch corner bend 7 was amazing ‘orange’!

We chose to watch the tour from bend 1 as it sits overlooking the natural amphitheartre giving great views from bend 6. We cycled up, the longest but most fun ride up the Alpe (not sure about carrying a rucsac), we chose a great spot with our friends, looking down onto bend 1 and across to bend 5. It was the Norwegian corner. We had 4 hours to kill before the cyclists came up, there was plenty to watch, Borat, Vikings, people and the caravan being a great distraction. We sent Alan and Simon to get us some goodies, Katherine and I decided to take in the atmosphere.

As time went on we were getting updates from the guy’s next to us, Schlek, Contador, Evans, Vokeler and Cavendish. The news came through, they were at the base of the Alpe, all eyes turned to bend 6, the anticipation increased. Then they were there, we didn’t have the best place for photos but a fantastic view, Contador dropped, Evans attacking – wow! The autobus came through about 12 mins behind the leader, they really showed their appreciation of our support.

It was then time to get off the Alpe, we thought it was going to be horrendous but in the end it wasn’t too bad, weaving in and out on the descent, glad we weren’t driving! Back to Le Velo Jaune and all the talk at dinner was Le tour, what a fantastic day and to top it off we found out that our half a yellow bike sign was shown on the TV coverage. ‘Vive le tour’

Tour d’France fever starts!

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

The tour d’France arrives with us on Thursday with the summit finish on the Galibier and then the Modane – Alpe d’Huez stage on Friday.

The Etape was here last Monday with approximately 9000 riders taking part, it was a scorcher of a day with temperatures hitting the mid 30’s. We marshalled just down the road from us on a junction that has at least 1 car a year coming out, so not to busy and plenty of time support. I didn’t appreciate I would have sore hands at the end of the day from clapping!

As that finished the camper vans started arriving on the Alpe, this year the Dutch corner seems to have gone German, it will be interesting to see how the Alpe fills as the week goes on.