La Tour de France

Trip Start Jun 29, 2008
Trip End Nov 27, 2008

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Finally I am getting around to writing my eagerly awaited blog on the Tour de France (well, its the footage and photos of Cadel Evans that is awaited).  Yes, yours truly had a close encounter of the non-alien kind with an Australian legend.  After a huge effort over 3 weeks, Cadel came in overall 2nd in the Tour de France, with the second closest finish in the history of the Tour.  The final day the Tour arrives in Paris and heads up and down the Champs Elysee 6 times, to the great pleasure of the accompanying crowd.  The crowd arrives early, and after a couple of hours waiting, is entertained by the floats of the various sponsors driving past for an hour or so.  The entry of the cyclists into Paris was late this year, which meant another wait before finally the riders arrived.  Well, it was all worth it!

We were standing with a large group of Australians, many of whom had followed the entire length of the Tour, who had large blow up Kangaroos, Australian flags and a lot of green and gold paraphrenalia.  Beer was easily available and as the afternoon wore on, the singing of Waltzing Matilda, "more beer, more beer, more beer, more beer", and shouts of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi, got louder and louder.  We also had some company from some Belgians, Canadians and French.  Both the Belgians and the Canadians were supporting the Australians, so naturally they were more than welcome.  And the French.... well, we were in France after all, and they were being understanding hosts to the loud Aussies.

The cyclists really move through the streets, and when they go right by you, it is almost just a blur.  There was a French commentator calling the race over a loud speaker, and I tell you - he needed to be able to talk and talk and talk.... he was calling the race long before they entered Paris and continued throughout.  The atmosphere was fantastic.  Following completion of the race, the ceremony occurs, and then all the teams ride down the Champs Elysee one more time to wave to the crowd.  Cadel was brilliant, coming over and saying thanks to his supporters.  Hope you enjoy the photos and the footage!
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