It’s Tour de France mania at the moment for the 100th edition of the famous race, and lucky for us we got to see it live, just down the road. This is the second time the Tour has been in the area; last time was in 2009 when it actually went through the centre of Roquefort.
Last week the Tour de France was in Nice for time trials on Tuesday and then it flew through Biot and Valbonne on its way from Cagnes sur Mer to Marseille on Wednesday.
On Wednesday we trooped off en masse to watch the race, an international group of 21 including the Scottish guests from the gîte, a visitor from the United States, English, Peruvian, Cameroonian, French, Chinese and Australian “locals”. Between us we covered supporting a fair few of the riders though Peru, Cameroon and China weren’t very well represented on two wheels!
We took picnics and plenty of water as we decided to walk through the forest to avoid parking and traffic problems. The thing is, the sponsors drive past about an hour and a half before the cyclists and being the part little kids like best we couldn’t miss it, so there’s a long wait in the middle and eating lunch seemed like a good way to fill the time even if a bit early.
At the Tour de France the sponsor “caravan” (as the vans are called) drives past blasting music and throwing out freebies to the waiting crowd. Everyone scrabbles to catch the products and this year we came home with hats, caps, keyrings, newspapers, washing powder, sweets, biscuits, saucisson, crisps, madeleines, magnets and a condom! Of course it was my little one, 8 years old, who caught that. He instantly opened it up and pulled it out before I’d noticed what was going on. “Ooo this is all sticky and squidgy, what is it mummy?” Do you think I handled it well? No, is the quick answer!
We chose a spot on a hill to watch the cyclists which meant they were going a little slower than the 50 ish km/h that they can be going at on the flat and we got a great view of the “yellow jersey” winning rider Australian Simon Garrans. His teammate spotted our Aussie flag and pointed it out to him, and amazingly the moment was captured on film by one of our party.
Here are some images from the day (photos of Nice courtesy of friends who went on Tuesday).
“Fin de course” end of the race, it’s all over folks!