Watching The Tour in Person
I'm livin' the dream this summer and have a hotel in Luz-Saint-Sauveur for satge 12 of the TDF. The town is nestled between the Col du Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden. Ardiden is the mountain top finish to the stage.
I have three questions:
1. Anyone out there going to be there for this stage?
2. I'm bringing my bike and plan on climbing up one of these peaks to watch. Which one would you choose?
3. Any other advice from people that have watched in person?
It's a great little town. Check out the market if you have time. We stayed there in 2008 and watched on the main street where all the towns people gather to watch. The Tourmalet broke up the Peloton and they came through in small groups that day. That stage was on Bastille Day and we watched the ceremonies that morning.
Definitely get up on the mountain if at all possible. That's my one regret but we really had no idea what we were doing. For one flat stage we drove out and saw them come through on a narrow rural road and then drove to the finish town. Ricardo Ricco won that day and got arrested the next week for doping.
Enjoy the experience there is almost no way not to have a good time.
I have never been to that part of the tour but i have seen the tour in the alps and I highly suggest getting up in the areas where they will be climbing. the riders will go by much slower and usually in small bite-sized groups. I would find a spot that offered a view of the riders coming from a ways off if possible. One year we stayed near the Alp d'Huez and were able to scout out a decent spot the day before by riding up it then on the day of we got up early and spent all day in our chosen spot. Take some food and water and enjoy the atmosphere.
If you speak french a radio can be handy for updates on the riders whereabouts and leaders. Also one of the RV's will usually set up television that will draw a crowd as well.
Finally, if it were me, I would head to the finishing climb. It is likely that the racing is going to be more exciting there and the atmosphere will be more frenetic and fun during the long wait for the riders.
I don't know if any of that helps.
Whatever you do, I am sure you will love it. Count me as jealous!
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