All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Paris and Le Tour de France - Part 2

So Sunday morning would arrive and what to do about getting a good spot to watch the tour, we had all been giving varying advice, but the common theme during our discussions Saturday was get down early.

Well I am going on the record right now as saying, "As long as you get the right Metro station or are targeting a spot up the Champs Elysees, 10am will be more than early enough" Plus, you won't get moved on after finding the best spot to watch the riders dart across Place de la Concorde and right down your camera lense. Grrr!

Anyway, successfully relocated to a spot where we could duck out and get coffee and see the riders from both sides of the Champs Elysees and then the wait begun. Nik and I had arrived at about 8:30 as mentioned. You don't need to do this, many others had as well.

But now we all had got together and the crowd was slowly building, we had wisely bought food the night before and this allowed us to save a small fortune. Whilst we stood around and chatted, we were approached by a Sports and Travel writer from the Netherlands, Wiep.

We all had a bit of a chat to him, me airing a strong opinion about a particular subject of the Silence-Lotto team, which I have been following closely since before the start of the tour. But by and large the discussion was about all facets of the tour and what we had thought about the race this year and in particular, Kath and Clayton's views as they had seen a couple of stages.

Wiep left us after taking some pictures of a group of mad Aussie's and a suffering English rose ;-) and mentioning that he had rarely got to see the riders he had followed around as he always had to get his writing off to the paper back home. Which I thought was a bit harsh for him.

Soon the madness of Le Tour caravan would arrive, but to my surprise and Nik grave disappoint in relation to the Haribo cars, they were not throwing goodies out the cars. Kath and Clayton were kind enough to tell us about the things they had handed out on the other stages, cheers guys.
A Horny Devil

Not quite a tiger

The caravan was truly a bright and loud affair and as much a part of the tour as anything else we associate with it.

So much waiting around and watching (0n the big screens) the rider drink champagne and have a laugh on the way to Paris and then they arrived. Even though the tour had already been decided, there was still much to race for, line honors of Le Champs Elysees are a pretty big thing.

So there were some celebratory laps at pace and then it heated up even more, after 3000 odd kilometers and these guys were still so damn quick it was very impressive. But this made taking photo's near impossible. But I took many and some are shown below.

The peleton's crusing pace, notice the blurr?

CSC Train and Sastre, an awesome win for them. Well done Sastre and Co.

So I have finally made it to the last day of the tour, something I have wanted to do for many years, and what do I think. Well, I'll be back for more stages next year. I loved it I was so excietd and really enjoyed the experience.

Seeing the presentation and how happy these guys were to complete the toughest road race in the world, reminds you that they are just normal guys doing an absolutely amazing thing, which they have worked so hard to achieve.

Cadel, was still happy and looked a little relieved as they all did that it was over. Loads of Aussie were there to cheer him on to the podium, which was great to see.

Once the presentation was over we decided to head back. Don't do this, find your way back to the crash barriers and wait for the riders to do a slow lap, signing stuff and having there photo's taken. We had our reasons, but damn it!

We wandered away from the Champs Elysees, impressed and fulfilled at seeing the last day of a magnificent race, but I was a little sad as another July was over.

2009, Yell for Cadel!

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