Guest Reviews8th August 2018
The TDF 2018 reaches the Pyrenees.
Wow! What a race! The Tour reached the Pyrenees for its final week and what a week it was.
Our guests at AYP (and Chris and I as well) managed to catch 4 stages and each were completely different.
Carcassonne - Bagnères-de-Luchon
Stage 17 was the Luchon
finish. We had a prime vantage point to watch Alaphillipe roll around the final corner only 450m from the finish line. No one was going to stand in our way, especially as we had situated ourselves just behind the France1 TV camera, ensuring the perfect view.
The purchase of some very fetching yellow macs was required for the odd downpour but we were not put off, and the big screen to our right ensured we knew exactly what was happening as the race progressed.
450m from the finish line...
Bagnères-de-Luchon - Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet
Day 2 took us to the summit of the Col de Val Louron-Azet at an altitude of 1580m and an average gradient of 8.3%; the heat made it a tough ride but what a spot! By the time I made it to the summit (a few rest stops, including one for free beer, later), Chris and the group had secured another perfect position. This time there was no camera in front and we were right on the barriers to watch the riders sweep past and over the col just inches from where we stood.
Trie-sur-Baïse - Pau
A stage start at Trie-sur-Baise
was made more entertaining by the fact that the Tour organisers thought we were an official Tour vehicle and allowed us to drive right up to the area reserved for Tour staff and the caravan. This meant we had plenty of time to make it through the crowds to the stage square to watch the riders sign on and see them lined up in the paddock ready for the start of the day’s racing.
Lourdes - Laruns
On the final stage of the Pyrenees (the one we’d all been waiting for), we split the group into two with some heading to the Tourmalet and others opting for a quieter spot at the Cote de Capvern les Bains. Choosing the 2nd
option, I could not believe how quickly or how closely the riders flew past us. If inches were between us on the Azet, it was only centimeters here and with no barriers to separate us from the peloton it was a hold your breath and do not move moment.
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Even though it was a Tour watching week, we still managed to fit in several other rides along the way, including a trip to our favourite ‘restaurant on a col’, Chez Lou Lou’s, a recce of the Tourmalet before race day, a ‘pootle’ around the flatter roads from the doorstep and a trip to the local lake for a chilled out afternoon. Of course, even with all the action, there was still time for pizza night and a few swims in the pool and even though we were all exhausted at the end of the week, it is something that will remain in our memories for a long time to come.
#cyclingmotivation #getonabike #allonsypyrenees #rewardyourbike #TDF #colnumberthree #TDF