Posted by: kathandroger | July 21, 2011

Le Tour magnifique

There’s not much that drags us away from our plaster boarding (yes, we are still doing it!) these days, but the Tour de France is so exciting at the moment that we found ourselves mesmerised in front of the tele this afternoon. How can this not be the greatest sporting event in the world? Having toiled on their bikes around most of France for almost 3 weeks today’s stage took the riders over 3 very severe Alpine mountain passes over 200 km. The final ascent up the famous Galibier looked as though someone had stuck a road to the side of a sheer drop! So far there have been relatively few attempts to break the field, but today it was the turn of Luxemburger, Andy Schleck to make a break on the second climb and win the stage. But there was a valiant fight back on the final climb, the result of which was for Frenchman Thomas Voeckler to retain his yellow jersey and for the race to be thrown wide open with 2 fascinating stages of racing and the procession to Paris to come. And here things are reaching fever pitch. Cycling is part and parcel of french culture, as well as a sport, and the fact that no Frenchman has won the yellow jersey since Bernard Hinault in 1985 causes them no end of national heartache. Noone ever suspected Voeckler might be in with a chance when he pulled on the yellow jersey for the fist time 10 days ago…

They didn’t believe he’d get through the Pyrenees and certainly not an Alpine stage…but he has and people are starting to believe that maybe he can hang on. I suspect there might be a national holiday declared if he does!


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