Saturday, July 23, 2016

Le Tour de France Wraps Up This Weekend

July is Le Tour de France month around here. Although I enjoy the other major bike races, and some of the smaller ones, Le Tour is unique and is a phenomenon around which my July revolves. I watch every stage in the morning and/or at the nightly recap. I groan with the crashes, celebrate with the winners, and watch the standings. I answer the trivia questions (only two more to go until I've answered all of them this year and I've had every one correct so far). I print out the daily route and study the profiles, and I post about it on my daily blog.

Today's stage is the final stage in the Alps. Just look at that profile!
Lots of mountains, lots of descents. 

Today is the final day in the Alps. There were crashes yesterday, even Chris Froome, the current leader, was involved in a crash and lost some time, but saved his yellow jersey. With new tarmack and the spits of rain that were coming down, the road surface was like ice. Yesterday, when the boys were coming down the extreme heights, there were times when bike tires were skidding off the road surface - no traction. Several riders had to pull out of the race because of injuries from these crashes. It was a harrowing day and I hope we'll have a rain-free day today for our final mountain stage.

The Col de la Ramaz is a wicked Cat 1 climb with one super-steep
gradient about 2/3 up the mountain. 

The Col de Joux Plane is an HC peak that will have a fast
descent and a small incline to the finish. I'm hoping the
weather is perfect today so that we have a great stage win. 

There are two big mountains in today's stage - Col de la Ramaz and Col de Joux Plane. Tomorrow we'll be riding into Paris, and if all goes well today, Chris Froome will be standing at the top of the podium as the winner of Le Tour de France for the third time (previous wins in 2013 and 2015).

The final stage - the ride into Paris and around the Champ Elysees
numerous times. It's been a wonderful Tour de France and I've loved
watching it from start to finish. 

I love watching the sprinters fight out the final race around the Champ Elysees. The TV coverage always has the statue of Joan of Arc and Cleopatra's obelisk. Just that small glimpse of Paris is wonderful. We'll be watching while eating breakfast and then, once again, our lives will be our own to dictate - at least until Renaissance Faire begins in late August. Enjoy your weekend!

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