Thursday, December 29, 2011

Initial plans

So I saw some advice on the Internet about seeing the Tour de France that I am trying to follow for our trip. Some of the recommendations are:
  1. Try to see a mountain stage as the riders tend to be more spread out and going much slower so you get more viewing time.
  2. Try to find stages where one stage ends in the same town as the next stage starts. This gives you the ability to see the riders twice in two days without moving (although the start is not exactly the most exciting part of the race, but its better than nothing!).
  3. Be at the final stage in Paris to see the circuits of the Champs-Elyssées and the trophy ceremonies. Plus it's freaking Paris for crying out loud.
  4. See a time trial if possible. Again, because the riders are spread out, you get a lot more viewing time for your effort at these stages, although the riders tend to fly by pretty fast.

I'm sure there were other recommendations, but these are the ones I'm acting on. With these bits of advice in mind, we are planning to see the following stages for sure:

  1. Stage 16 finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon - This is the finish of a critical mountain stage in the Pyrenees that begins in Pau. This route features a number of famous passes including the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d'Aubisque.
  2. Stage 17 start in Bagnères-de-Luchon - This is the beginning of the stage that will include the Col de Menté and the Col des Ares and end in Peyragudes. We will get to see the peleton off this morning before we head north toward Paris.
  3. Stage 20 on the Champs-Élysées - This will be the final sprints of the TdF and the crowning of the champion.

I have made arrangements to see these stages already (more on those specifics coming). It might also be interesting to be in Chartres on Saturday to see the finish of the time trial, but this might be trying to cram too much into the time allotted, given that we need to be in Paris the next day. We'll have to see about this one.

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