Squadra di Vecchi Tori

TDF report from Lourdes by kiwicyclist
July 15, 2011, 7:04 am
Filed under: Rides

A quick update.  We arrived in Lourdes last night after a long 12 hr transfer by bus from Paris last night.  By the time we had checked in, sorted bikes out, had dinner and went through the ride briefing it was a pretty late hour to bed.

We woke to overcast skies but a clearing forecast and mild temperatures -ideal climbing weather.  Most of our travel group opted to follow the guide out of Lourdes along the bike path up the valley to the town at the foot of Luz Ardiden.  This was about a 30k cruise including a 10 or so k roll through a narrow river valley leading up to the village which rapidly filled with riders and cars.

We had decided to tackle the Tourmalet and then come down for lunch before making our way back up to Luz Ardiden.  The Tourmalet was a stunning climb.  About 18ks of varying grades with sections averaging 10% in places.  It took us about an hour and a half.  At the top it was pretty cold and we stopped only for enough time to put on winter kit, a photo and a T shirt from the shop.

The decent was one of the best I’ve done – slightly delayed at the top by a herd of lamas that were being led up the road by a shepherd.

We reached the bottom in about 20mins and had a quick bite in the town square keeping an eye on the gendarmes who like to close the roads a couple of hours before the race comes through.  Another 40 mins of climbing up the Luz Ardiden climb in warm sunshine and a congested road had us about a third of the way up –just outside a beer tent with TV.  Perfect.

We waited for about 2hrs for the race to arrive – 3 beers and a hotdog each later – and were able to follow the action after the race passed by joining a large crowd hanging through the doorway of a campervan where the owner had set up the TV so that we could all watch. 

A mad decent back down the hill followed and a smashfest back down the valley riding on the wrong side of the road with a large peloton at 45 ks with wall to wall car traffic heading back to Lourdes – crazy but exhilarating.

As always a picture tells a thousand words – here are some of them from today.


Cancellera coming through with the Gruppetto.

Flickr link here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/48894104@N08/sets/72157627073534245/


1 Comment so far
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Great stuff, Stu – looks and sounds absolutely awesome!!!!

Comment by Andy Gowers

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