Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Stage 3 of the 2009 Tour de France began in Marseille and ended 121.8 miles later in the city of La Grande-Motte. The biggest surprise of the day was the last minute sprint by Mark Cavendish and his Columbia teammates along with Lance Armstrong and Fabian Cancellara. Cavendish took the Stage but the biggest upset was Armstrong moving up from 10th place to 3rd place because of the his ability to realize when the mass group sprint was happening and take advantage of that move. The group sprinted to the line together and all received the same time; 39 seconds faster than the second group to cross the finish line!

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Stage 4 was the Team Time Trial in Montpellier. Five members of the team must complete the 24.2 mile course and their time is earned when the 5th man crosses the finish line. Continuing wind affected many of the teams, caused a few of them to crash, but the overall winner was the Astana Team lead by Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. The question of the day was whether or not Lance would wear the Maillot Jaune jersey! Time wise he tied with Fabian Cancellera; but tradition has it that in case of a tie the current winner takes the prize.

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Stage 5 on July 8th will take us 121.8 miles from Le Cap d’Agde to Perpignan and the following day we will head south into Spain! For more information:


At the end of Stage 4 the right to wear the Jerseys tomorrow are:

Yellow Jersey: Fabian Cancellara (best time)

Green Jersey: Mark Cavendish (most points)

Polka-dot Jersey: Jussi Veikkanen (king of the mountain)

White Jersey: Tony Martin (best rider age 25 and under)

Top Team: (total points): Astana Team

Continuing our story in 2004; we head south of Limoges to the mountain town of Triegnic to watch the riders come through on a stage from Limoges to Saint-Flour.

Monday, July 12th, 2004 Treignac, France

The weather was overcast but no rain as we began our nine hour drive to Treignac, a small mountain village in the south of France after a delightful three day visit in Dinan.

Along the way we passed pasture land with the white cattle known as Charolais; they provide France with it’s best beef. South of Nantes we found fields of sunflowers, Jim commented that “our girls have grown” since we last saw them over a week ago.. Soon there were acres or should I say hectors of vineyards.

Stopped in Cognac for gas and then back on the toll road that was full of Tour de France trucks for the race officials, team trucks and sponsor trucks; everyone was headed south!

An interesting note is that the French put black silhouettes of people (male and female) along the highway showing where people were killed in accidents; one for each victim. They serve as a warning that people should not drive when drinking and/or when they are tired. Not sure if the program is working but it does wake one up!

Arrived at our small Hotel du Luc in the mountains south of Limoges about five o’clock; only seven rooms and we paid a bit extra for a room with a view of the lake! After we settled in we purchased some food and drove to a picnic area on the lake and enjoyed the view while we ate our dinner.

The bike riders had a day of rest as they transferred to Limoges by airplane to continue their race tomorrow just east of Limoges before returning to Limoges for the road south on Wednesday that will go through Treignac.

Tuesday, July 13th Treignac

I stayed at the hotel and enjoyed a day off while Jim spent the day chasing the race that was running 160 km from Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat to Gueret today. A long day of driving many miles, but very exciting for him. He was exhausted but full of exciting stories when he returned in the late afternoon.

We had a picnic dinner in our room while enjoying the views of the lake from our balcony.

Wednesday, July 14th Treignac Bastille Day

Big day today! The race will be a long one today: 237 km; from Limoges to Saint-Flour. And….it comes right through our little mountain town of Treignac! So we’ll spend the day waiting and waiting and waiting….for the five minutes it will probably take for all of the riders to pass through the town.

But, we will have the fun of the caravan of sponsors that arrives about an hour before and hopefully we’ll be able to snag some of the goodies that they toss at us from the moving vehicles.

We found a spot on the road just above the climb that they make coming into town, hung our American Flag over the sign and then the wait began. Oh yes, it’s only noon so we’ve several long hours in the sunshine before they arrive. Our hotel is out of town so we had to arrive before they closed the roads. Everyone was in a very festive mood because of the Tour de France and also because today is Bastille Day, much like the fourth of July in USA. Met a family from Belgium and their English was good so we had a great time talking about both of our journeys to pass the time.

Hot and tired after our day at the races, we enjoyed a relaxing meal in the restaurant at the hotel. We then enjoyed watching the fireworks display on the lake in honor of Bastille Day. A fitting end to a great day in France!

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