Tour De France – A Beginning & An End

By now you know that if we’re traveling we like to share entertainment choices in the various cities or ships we’re on. But no clubs this week, lol. We’re traveling with the Tour de France, the world’s premier cycling event. It takes mostly in France but this year’s event began in the Basque region of northern Spain. We got to experience one stage “start” and one stage “end”. We’ll begin here at this Tour de France Start Village.
Entry to the village includes access to numerous sponsored displays.
Unlimited soft drinks, beer and wine are included.
There is also a merchandise store but souvenirs cost extra.
Entertainment acts on one small stage.
Many vendors were giving out free logo merchandise and at this one, autographs too.
The cycling team buses were parked nearby such as this one from Team UAE.
And this one from Team Astana including some team members mounting for their soon-to-begin ride.
Team member’s bikes are right there.
A sticker near the handle bars provides guidance to the cyclists of where drinks and energy food is available along the ride. As you can see, that day’s ride was 172.7km.
We got to experience the riders heading from their buses to the Start line.
Team cars transported extra bicycles in case a mechanical problem developed.
And soon that stage began and off they went!
We also got to experience the “end” of a Stage. Following the entire route which takes place mostly on country and alpine village roads, we eventually got to this area where we were on a narrow and steep pathway. We were in a van but the cyclists would have to climb this on their own power.
This was a popular area where cycling fans would gather alongside to cheer on their favorites.
This was near the peak/high point of this stage in the French Alps and it also signified 5km to go!
A band was playing light Rock tunes as we paused for a bit.
Large monitors allowed everyone to check progress of the cyclists making their way closer.
Impressive views and chilly breezes.
There is a small airport up here and the finish of this stage would occur on this runway…..uphill.
Looking up hill towards the actual finish line.
That stage’s winner finally arrived!
Mobbed by members of the Press.
The yellow jersey wearer arrived shortly thereafter and was also a popular choice for Press interviews.
The Tour de France is a sports’ cash cow but no better or worse than our own Super Bowl, World Series or NCAA Final Four. Money can get you premier access but like those fans you saw along the routing, anyone can be a part of the event and often at little to no cost so perhaps this is better. A good time is definitely had by all.