Squadra di Vecchi Tori

Sestriere – a long way to go for coffee by kiwicyclist
July 21, 2011, 7:07 am
Filed under: Rides

A very interesting and somewhat enjoyable day following the Tour across into Italy today up to Sestriere to watch the stage pass by.

There was some debate over breakfast over where to ride to as the options around here are almost overwhelming. However after enduring almost undrinkable coffee for the past week the prospect of getting over the border to get a caffeine fix won us all over.

Our route from the hotel took us down the valley back to Briancon for about 16ks fully kitted up in winter gear. My temperature gauge said it was 12 degrees and it felt somewhat colder – a relatively miserable start to the day in my case after a restless night. The 2 star hotel we are in is something else and has the kind of beds where the springs are so stuffed my feet were probably close to my nose due to the sag in the middle. To top it off breakfast was on the “lean” side so many of us had half full tanks.

The climb itself consisted of an ascent of about 9 ks up to Montegenvre a descent down into the valley on the Italian side and a further 11 ks up to Sestriere.

In comparison to the other big climbs we have been doing this should have been easy however I found it harder work than I should have in the cold thin air. Our hotel is already quite high at 1500 odd meters so easier climbs require quite a lot more effort.

Cresting Montegenvre we sailed through the unmanned border crossing and descended down into the valley at speed entering a series of tunnels with strong winds buffeting us as we went down. Like my descent off Ventou my bike was bumped around and I found it completely nerve wracking.




Part way up the Sestriere climb which I was by now doing on my own I bumped into Will Watson from Melbourne who was also across to watch the stage with girlfriend Britt. Will had successfully completed the Etape the previous week and Alpe D’huez a few days ago.




We found Britt and the rest of the group at Sestriere and camped in a cafe downing as many espressos as we could watching the first English commentary of the Tour we have seen so far.



Tandem recumbent.  WTF?


I wandered outside with Mark to watch the Tour come through and managed to get on Tv apparently. The urge to do something juvenile when the peleton comes through is almost overwhelming and I can understand the annoying idiots doing the run next to the riders. In our case we had the best view possible and could have reached out and touched the riders as they came through if we felt so inclined. Will and I settled for making heavy metal horn signs for HMC James back in Melbourne -I hope he saw it as I copped plenty of twitter abuse as a result.







Front runners coming through.  Note metal horns right.

Caught the bus back to the hotel and saw a rider who had come off – he seemed ok but his carbon Wilier was snapped in three places. Nasty.
Big day of riding coming up tomorrow -Alp D’Huez which will be a round trip of around 130 ks. The roads back from the Col Lauretet will be closed by the time we get back so we will find a cafe and catch the queen stage of the Tour on TV.


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We saw you on the TV too Stu!

Comment by marcusoc

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