Un jour á le Tour – Stage 13: Saint-Étienne > Chamrousse
After a distinctly soggy week’s riding sunny skies welcomed stage 13 of the tour into the Alps. We arrived in Chamrousse at around midday after driving and then hiking though the forest. Things were just starting to get going by the time we arrived, it was busy but not packed so we managed to find a nice spot in the shade overlooking one of the giant TV screens.
First things first, crack open some beers and have lunch! The next priority was to try to score some of the free stuff that is handed/thrown out by the race sponsors. First was Ibis who were giving away inflatable pillows, these came in useful later for a nap in the sun. Next up was PMU and their lurid green T-shirts and foam hands, then LCL with baseball caps, Evian with water and finally Haribo! We’ve ended up with about two months supply of small Haribo packets. After my studious research I’ve come to the conclusion that blue is definitely the best flavour, whatever flavour it actually is.
Late afternoon and the race was approaching the mountain. Race vehicles and helicopters overhead were really getting the crowd going and everyone rushed to the barriers. 5km to go, 15mins. After what seemed like ages the Yellow jersey of Nibali was finally in sight! On the TV the riders don’t look like they’re actually going that fast but he was absolutely flying, as were all of the top 10. We hung around there for a bit watching the slower riders drag themselves uphill before heading to where the team buses were parked.
Cycling is probably the only sport where you can chat to your favourites after they’ve been competing. As we walked through the melee we saw Rui Costa, Chris Horner, Jens Voight and others chatting casually to fans. Dave Brailsford was too. After taking everything in we eventually headed back to the van. The sun was just starting to set and everyone agreed that it was an amazing spectacle.
Vive la Tour!