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Old 06-10-05, 11:40 AM   #1
jandamara
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Any Tips For Tour Spectating?

I've got flights out to Grenoble this year, and plan to go watch a couple of the mountain stages this summer. I've never gone to watch a stage before, and haven't found too much info on what to expect when I get there. I've heard different stories about when the roads get closed etc. (anywhere from a couple of hours to a whole day before?) and would appreciate any tips from anyone who had first hand experience.

I'll be travelling around by car. Anyone got any ideas ?
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Old 06-10-05, 12:29 PM   #2
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I've gotten the impression that the lead time on road closures have been going up, perhaps by quite a bit, in hte last few years. Usually I would suggest asking the locals, but they may well remember the last time the Tour was there 5 years ago and this year the road closure may be several hours earlier.

Riding a bike up the mountian has long been popular. It seems you can then ride down after the last rider is gone, but closure for cars may last a few hours after that.
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Old 06-12-05, 05:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Riding a bike up the mountian has long been popular. It seems you can then ride down after the last rider is gone, but closure for cars may last a few hours after that.
Yes. At l'Alpe d'Huez last year the roads were closed forever and half after the stage because there was a stage leaving the area the day after, IIRC. Local information for this stuff is key. BTW, to be on the safe side, we got to l'Alpe d'Huez the day before, and planned to leave late the day after. Dunno what it's like for a "normal" mountain stage. After seeing the uphill time trial and the final stage on the Champs E (the latter twice), I'm pretty spoiled. I don't know that I'd enjoy a regular stage as much (they go by so fast!).
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Old 06-13-05, 09:02 AM   #4
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Have a bike or plan on long walks...have a lock for it if you want to be near the finish
Bring toilet paper and enjoy using the bushes...approx. 1 toilet per 100k people at La Mongie last year
Bring a light jacket and leg warmers in case a storm rolls in like last year
Try to be near team cars after stage for good photos
Starts of stages are useless unless you get there really really early
Soak in the atmosphere and practice saying....Bonjour
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Old 06-16-05, 02:59 PM   #5
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any advice for the last day in paris- I'l be there- wonder how early i need to be there in the morning- how sober must stay the night before ect? gig em-
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Old 06-17-05, 08:48 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by oboeguy
Yes. At l'Alpe d'Huez last year the roads were closed forever and half after the stage because there was a stage leaving the area the day after, IIRC.
There is only one road up that mountain as well, which was part of the reason, I'm sure.

Look at the TdF Web site, specifically at the timeline for the stage you want to see. It indicates when the caravan goes past, and it has been about an hour before that when the road has been closed in the four years I have been watching.

My personal tips would be:

1. Don't try to go to a one-road climb unless it is the day before (at least).

2. Looking at the timeline, try to approach the course without traveling on the actual course roads. You can usually get a spot a short distance from the course to park, and then walk to the course itself.

3. If you want goodies from the caravan, stand on the passenger's side of the road, as that is where most of the stuff is distributed.

4. If you want good photo ops, in general get them as they are well into a climb, preferably not the first. They tend to spread out more there, and are going slower. Also scout out a position where the sun will be in their faces when they get there.

5. If you want souveniers like bottles and musette bags, get somewhere just before or just after a feed zone. For musettes it has to be after.

6. Be sure you have sun protection, because it gets very hot out there.

Lastly, since this is a[nother] historic year, what it being LA's last race and a chance at 7 in a row, everything will probably be worse than other "normal" years. Most of all - have fun!

Here are some of my results: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/masong4/images.htm#race
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Old 07-05-05, 10:01 AM   #7
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Thanks for your tips, guys. My mom just told me that she wants to come see the tour with me next year, and she'll need hotels, camping won't do. Any idea at all how to get hotel rooms?? I'm assuming they book far in advance.
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