Thursday, August 6, 2009

July's Epic Travel - Le Tour - Part Three

Stage 16 - Martigny (CH) to Bourg-St-Maurice (FR).

Kelly and I took the train to Martigny from Zurich. One of my favorite parts about Europe is being able to walk up to the train station and get on a train within a few minutes to anywhere you want to go. We hit a 06:30ish train and were in Martigny with plenty of time to spare. The train ride was beautiful, with Lake Geneva being the highlight.

We got to the start and just walked around enjoying the spectacle. It really is a big party. There are DJ's and brass bands, and vendors with samples (thanks Nestle coffee man) and cafes. Everyone is having a good time.

Since the race went over the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard (and for that matter, the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard) the locals were out.

The team buses and cars are lined up on the main drag near the start. Note: Boonen already went home.

We hit a cafe for a beer (it was nearly 11) and watched the publicity caravan roll by. Not the world's greatest pictures, but they were better the next day.

Towards the end of the caravan, Erin and Jonathan met up with us. They had driven down from Zurich that morning, and made it with plenty of times thanks to amazing tailwinds on their flight. We hit the fence to start watching the proceedings. We saw the sign in, and the roll up. We also saw the Mustache Of The Race.

Contador signing in.

Contador and Ballan (world champ) rolling up.


Lance rolling up. Note his two goons (one foreground, out of focus, one with him). What a tool.

The (mostly) assembled field. Looks like any office park crit start line from here.


Local boy Cadel.

The Liquigas team car. There were many others like it.

This got huge, quickly. Part four will be the second sprint point of stage 16.

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