Thursday, July 23, 2009


Stage 18 of the 2009 Tour de France is an individual time trial around the city of Annecy which is located next to a very large and unusually clear lake near the Swiss and Italian borders.

Time Trials around Lake Annecy for Stage 18 saw the Swiss Road Champion Fabian Cancellara take the lead early and hold it until the very last rider, Alberto Contador, crossed the finish line 2.5 seconds faster! The challenge of the day was the Col de Bluffy...where we watched the 2004 Tour ride through in yesterday's journal.


The leaders are:

#1: Alberto Contador

#2: Andy Schleck +4:11

#3: Lance Armstrong +5:25

#4: Bradley Wiggins +5:36

#5: Andreas Kloden +5:38

Our Jerseys were awarded today to:

Top Team Overall: Astana

Maillot Jaune: Alberto Contador

Maillot Vert: Thor Hushovd

Maillot a Pois Rouges: Franco Pellizotti

Maillot Blanc: Andy Schleck

And so we continue our 2004 Journal ….

Friday, July 23rd, 2004 Lons le-Saunier … Stage 18 of 2004 Tour

We decided to change our plans and drive over to the town of Lons le-Saunier where the Tour ended today. It was only about eighty-five kilometers each way. The weather is a little cooler but very humid. Had light rain and lightning most of the way to our destination. We drove the red and yellow roads with only a few deviations and arrived in less than ninety minutes. They were starting to barricade the streets as we arrived but we were able to park about two miles from the finish line.

We had a nice little jaunt to the awards area and back to the car afterwards; our morning exercise. The crowds were already standing along the barricades and the rider’s were not expected to arrive for another four hours or more. Always exciting to see the crowds, enjoy them and then leave before they begin to press the flesh with everyone trying to get close enough to touch the riders. We had a little more trouble getting out of town as the roads were already closed and we had to go back to Beaune by a different route. Yes, we left long before the caravan and the riders arrived in town. We just wanted to see all of the setup and experience the excitement again.

Sometimes I feel like a car rally passenger with the maps spread out on my lap; attempting to read the signs as we speed by and also read the maps at the same time. I also switch between a map of France and a local map so that I can see both the small roads and the overall view for the directions of what large city the roads end at…sometimes a hundred or so miles away! But, I must admit, Jim never yells at me and is willing to stay on the circles (round-d-rounds) until I’m confident that we’re heading off at the correct spoke of the wheel! If necessary, he will turn around to go back to check on signs whenever I ask. What adds to the confusion is the fact that they will put signs for every possible way to every possible town. Miles after we’ve passed the major road to a large town we will continue to see directional signs to that city.

We saw a wonderful flower display this morning. They had a two wheeled wooden cart tipped to the back. The wagon and about five feet beyond were used as a flowerbed. It appeared that the wagon had tipped and the flowers were spilling out the back. Also, so many of our girls grow in this area. This morning with the lack of sunshine they were hanging their heads towards the ground. On the way home the sun was out and their faces were turned to the sunshine! The fields are so beautiful but how many photos can you take of sunflowers!

We arrived back at the hotel in time to watch the last half of the tour on television. Then we walked into the village to enjoy seeing the changes and appreciate the things and places that remain the same. There is one store next to the Tourist Information Center that is one of our favorites. They have a hodgepodge of items, books (yes, some novels for the ladies in English), bouquet items and a wonderful collection of very expensive wines (some from USA) with beautiful stemware and related china for the enjoyment of wine. For the cigar smokers out there; they also have items to enhance the enjoyment of your pleasures including a special selection of wine. But, like so many other things we see; how ya gonna get them home!

From there we walked to find an Art Gallery that we’d seen two years ago. It was still there and Jim stopped in for a minute wanting a card, but also getting a glimpse of the artist creating in the back room. The last time was on a Sunday morning as we were going to Mass and the shop was closed. From there we walked on to the church and heard music inside. Walked in and found a rehearsal in progress for a concert tonight. The singers and orchestra were not in costume but the sounds were wonderful; they were opera arias. We enjoyed them for as long as they allowed us to stay. Finally they politely asked us to leave. We had another great thunder and lightening rainstorm tonight!

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