Watching Stage 9 of the 2009 Tour de France

We drove to Pointis-de-Riviere to watch stage 9 of the Tour de France. The town was pretty with flags and the townsfolk were all out on their lawn chairs waiting for the peloton. We wandered out of the village to find somewhere with grass and shade where we could sit and watch. Someone made a bicycle sculpture out of the big French straw bales and hey, Otto liked it.

Tour de France town Tour de France straw

You have to get there early to watch the ‘caravane’ of random product trucks passing by. For the kids this is the best part of the day as they wave at the folks passing by and pick up all the thrown tchotchka and junk food. The Carrefour cars handed out little King of the Mountains polka dot hats. Minty liked hers. The Vittel girl took pity on me surrounded by little girls and Mothers and handed me a whole tray of water bottles.

Tour de France gaz Tour de France oh

Tour de France minty hat Tour de France vittel


There was a good collection of Tour de France babes handing stuff out:

1, 2) The Max Max girls with the water cannon were a big hit on a hot day.

3) I’m rather fond of the gendarme outfit – I want one for Jean.

4) The Vittel ‘babe’ guy on the bike had the most extroverted personality of the day, as well as an interesting scar from knee surgery.

Tour de France water cannon 1 Tour de France mad max 2

Tour de France gendarme Tour de France guy 2

The Kleber car handed out balloons. These are some new invention with a built-in valve so you don;t have to tie a knot. Kids can blow their own balloons, as Ella is deomstrating below, but all the balloons had burst within a few minutes.

Tour de France kleber Tour de France balloon

About an hour and a half after the procession started, the breakaway came into view, breathing hard, grinding away to increase the gap to the peloton. The eventual stage winner, Pierrick Fedrigo, is the Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider in the second photo. He’s a Frenchman, so that would have made the locals happy.

Tour de France breakaway Tour de France breathing

The peloton sped by seconds later. I watched for the Team Astana riders, waved my hat and yelled ‘Go Lance’ and ‘Allez allez!’

Tour de France peloton Tour de France peloton 2

It was so fast I wanted to watch it again, then again in slow motion. So when we got home I did just that. It was so fast I couldn’t recognize any riders – I recognized no Lance, Contador, Cadel or big George Hincapie. This is why there are such huge crowds on the mountain climbs – it is the only place where they go slow enough that you have a chance to recognize the riders.

Tour de France peloton 3 Tour de France peloton 4

There’s me in an oversize USA Rugby shirt, the only clothing I have that says USA on it although the cut down blue pants do give me away as a Northwest wannabe poser fixie hipster, waving at the peloton. They are followed by the support cars with their array of spare bikes and wheels.

Tour de France peloton 5Tour de France support

There were a few helicopters around taking shots for the coverage. This is how they do low angle zoom shots – they hover at zero altitude in a field behind the route and use their fancy military-design cameras to get close (see the Planet Earth DVD for details).

Tour de France chopper

And the last bike photos are of a coupe of teams’ go-fast bits. The Rabobank Giants have a fancy black Shimano Dura-Ace group and the Cofidis Time bikes have a fancy black Campy Record group. Black is in for componentry.

Tour de France support 2 Tour de France campy

And here we are, waving at the breakaway group on the TV coverage. That was so much fun we’ll do it again next year.

Tour de France tv


3 Responses to “Watching Stage 9 of the 2009 Tour de France”

  1. 1 Kris
    July 12, 2009 at 14:26

    How cool that you get to see the Tour de France live!!! Makes me want to move to France too…

  2. 2 Anonymous
    July 15, 2009 at 07:41

    It was a blast! You are most welcome to stay with us if you make it over here, of course.

  3. July 15, 2009 at 07:42

    That was me, not Mr Anonymous.

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