Thursday, July 16, 2009


Stage 12 of the 2009 Tour de France begins in Tonnene, a rural town located half way between Paris and Dijon. The race ends 131.1 miles later in Vittel, a city known for its rich architectural heritage.

Wind again was a factor today and the 7 man break away happened just before the 50 mile mark on today’s Stage. With a 4 minute lead they stayed away from the main Peloton right up until about 12 miles from the finish when 2 of the 7 broke away for a short time. Then at 3 miles to go Nicki Sorensen, Danish rider with Saxo Bank, broke loose and headed alone towards the finish line for his first stage win in seven tours. He is also the 2008 Champion of Denmark and now in the top 20 of the 2009 Tour de France!

The leaders are:

#1: Rinaldo Nocentini

#2: Alberto Contado +.06

#3: Lance Armstrong +.08

#4: Levi Leipheimer +.39

#5: Bradley Wiggins +.46

The Jerseys today:

Top Team Overall: Saxo Bank

Yellow Jersey: Rinaldo Nocentini

Green Jersey: Mark Cavendish

Polk-a-dot Jersey: Egoi Martinez

White Jersey: Tony Martin

Our journey in 2004 continues as we leave Gordes heading north to Grenoble….

July 19th, 2004 Traveling towards Grenoble

Today was a travel day for us and a day of rest for the Tour de France. But, we discovered on the road that the riders may be resting but the trucks and cars were on the road headed north for the next stages to be held near Grenoble. We left “the girls” (our sunflowers) behind in Provence as we journeyed north on toll roads. Must tell you that if you ever plan to stay overnight in Gordes, we were extremely pleased with our hotel. They even had an exchange shelf of novels in English. So now I have two new books to read. I chose them more for their size than content.

There are rumors that there will be a million people on the Alpe d’Huez on Wednesday for the time trial stage straight up the mountain. We arrived in Saint-Egreve, a suburb of Grenoble, about noon. We went shopping for some boxes to start mailing extra things home. We need to lighten the baggage before the end of the month so thought we’d get a head start here. The hotel is a one star with a fabulous view of the mountains. But the air conditioner does not work and it’s 95 degrees. This was the closest we could get a reservation to the Stages that are happening in this area. Price was not a question, space was the only criteria; and, Jim started very early attempting to get reservations. No mosquitoes (rarely see window screens in Europe) so we’ve got the one window open and can hear the tour group of bicycle riders from Belgium enjoying their evening. They moved tables and chairs outside and partied until late in the evening. Jim finally asked the last group to move inside about midnight. They were right under our window. We do have a television and access to the Internet. Cell phone is working fine…I needed to add time and that’s why it hasn’t worked for a few days.

During the afternoon we drove to the south part of Grenoble (Eybens) for a visit with our friend Sam, his brother Bob and friend Steve. Finally put our schedules together and had a very enjoyable two-hour visit sharing stories about our trips. Sam got caught in the cold rainstorm when we were in La Mongie. He was on the mountain on his bicycle; a bit different from our version as we were in a dry hotel room. Tomorrow Sam says he’s riding his bicycle up to the top of Alpe d’Huez. Jim has definitely decided not to drive up and sleep in his sleeping bag the night before the race.

The final decision came after we took a couple of hours and drove up to Villard, the stage end on Tuesday. Remember this is Monday. The road was packed with parked cars and campers, thousand of bicycle riders and bumper-to-bumper traffic. The final place that the road would be open after 9 am on Tuesday would be at least six miles from the finish line. We stopped, picked up the tour route through the town, drove as far as they would allow us to drive today; still several miles from the end. We were allowed to drive as far as the Luge Site from the Grenoble Olympics from the 1960’s. And this is not the big day!

Back to the hotel for a quiet and light dinner before cold showers to cool off and another session of Band of Brothers in French on the television.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Still enjoying your posts.. Could not remember if Jim ended up camping in the car for this stage in 2004 but reading today... me thinks he made a wise decision.... stay safe on the road this weekend.