18 July 2009

Tour de France

The Tour de France became the Tour de França as it passed through Cataluña last week. On Thursday, the riders cycled down the coast from Girona to Barcelona. Of course, the only very rainy day that we have had all summer was that Thursday, and it was so heavy in the morning that I doubted that I was going to be able to take any photos. The tour battled the rain and winds before, thankfully, the weather cleared as they entered the city.

As some of the route wasn't far from our apartment, we couldn't miss the opportunity to see the race pass metres in front of us, instead of watching it on TV as we've done in past years. We caught the T4 tram down to Carrer Wellington and stood on a corner between the Arc de Triumf and Estacio França.

First through was the sponsors' wacky parade. We hadn't seen this part before, and were soon collecting hats, pens and all sorts of goodies as they were thrown from the weird assortment of vehicles.

Click on the images to enlarge

J was able to track the race on her phone's internet connection, so we learned that the peloton had been broken up by a crash on a roundabout about 5km from our vantage point.

First through was Scotsman David Millar (who lives in Girona), although he was caught by the peloton just 1600 metres from the finish line.

The peloton came through very fast and there was barely enough time to fire off a few shots before they were gone.

After the peloton came the riders who had been caught up in the crash, some bearing new wounds on arms and legs.

Cyril_LemoineShimano's Cyril Lemoine shows off his bloody knee

Koldo_FernandezEuskatel's Koldo Fernandez has a new dressing on his upper left arm as he's followed by a team support car

Heinrich_HusslerCervélo's Heinrich Hussler had a better day yesterday and won Stage 13 - his first ever stage win

Inigo_CuestaHussler's team-mate #2 Inigo Cuesta was also down the back

TdF13Some of the final riders come through in a small, battered and bedraggled group

We were thrilled to have our first live Tour de France experience. An American architect, resident in Barcelona, was standing beside us for the event. He has followed several tours and recommended that we also see a climbing stage as he reckons that visually, they are the best. Maybe we'll do that next year!

Report on Stage 6 from Girona to Barcelona can be found on the Tour de France website.


Rob said...

Hey, really good pictures! I was standing in a bus stop at the corner Meridiana and Consell de Cent, manages to get some shots as well, as they had to slow down a bit there. I missed the publicity thinggy, as I was at work, couldn't really go down for more than 15 minutes.
But yeah, great pictures!

nzm said...

Thanks, Rob! The sponsors' parade was great fun - I wasn't even aware that they did this. We were bombarded with all sorts of advertising paraphernalia.

I can't wait to see my brother's face when I give his 4 year old son (my nephew) a Skoda hat. My brother is a die-hard Porsche fan and runs a Porsche racing shop!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Great photos! One little old lady, who seemed rather timid, told me she was going on her first world trip. Oh, to see Paris and London and the sights, I asked. Oh no, she said quietly, only the bike race, the tour de France. Each to his or her own, I guess.

Pandabonium said...

Great shots. The bicycle is IMHO the greatest transportation invention ever. Certainly the most efficient. Always a thing of beauty to me.

word verification: "ortorst" - a word used by waiters, such as "would like the bagel 'ortorst' with your coffee?