Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Tour leaves Luchon

The Tour left Luchon on Stage 17 around noon. We decided that it would be cool to see the riders ride by, so after we hung out around the busses before the race, we headed down the street, passed the start area to a place where we could catch the riders coming by.

As a bit of background, the Tour actually does two starts. The first they call the départ fictif (I guess "fake start"). This start is the one where you see the 4 jersey wearers lined up at the start line and they all take off together. During the départ fictif, no one is allowed to attack, and basically the riders do a leisurely ride through town so all the people can get a good look at them.

The départ réel usually happens about 10 minutes later, and is when the real racing can begin. Riders will often attack almost as soon as the flag is dropped for the start of the départ réel.

We were waiting around a corner for the fake start and I captured a video. I wanted to see the riders go by, but quite honestly I didn't expect it to take quite as long as it did. Then, after filming so of the pre-rider part of the Tour, I figured I ought to get all the post-rider Tour as well. This meant two things:
  1. The videos are exceptionally long with little view of the riders, and
  2. There is not much action in the videos.
That said, if you are a Tour junkie, you might enjoy seeing just how massive the scale of the Tour is. I haven't counted, but I think there is probably 1 motorized vehicle for ever two bicycles that ride the Tour course everyday.

So here is the main video. It shows all the vehicles that proceed the cyclist, the cyclists themselves, and nearly all the team cars.

The actual cyclists come by around the 4:15 mark if you aren't a glutton for punishment.

The second video is very short, and just catches the tail end of the Tour, including the truck to carry any vehicles that break down en route. (I wonder what truck carries the truck that carries broken down vehicles if it breaks down?)

What I didn't capture was the team coaches that came a few minutes later. I don't think they follow the Tour route everyday like the other cars and trucks do, but I did capture some pictures:

Team Europcar heading out...

The Saxo Bank coach leading a bunch of others

I'm guessing the coaches took the road straight to Peyragudes, a very short (probably 20-30km) drive.

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