We had three ride options today. A reasonably solid 80km, an easier 55km, or the most direct route to and from the stage start at around 40km. There was a fair bit of discussion at the dinner table last night about our aspirations for knocking out some more vertical metres for the Rapha Rising Strava challenge… but we head east to Alpe D’Huez tomorrow for a double ascent so there’s still plenty of metres left to climb!
So it was direct to the stage start after a sleep in and a lazy 20km.
It’s difficult to describe the intensity that surrounds a race start. The local town (this time Vaison-la-Romanie) typically throws on a celebration of its own with markets and stalls, and the Tour de France circus rolls itself in to town on the back of a fleet of trucks with VIP areas, enough fencing to surround the town and a whole lot of road closures!
After watching the Publicite Caravane pass for the third time this tour, we positioned ourselves outside the Orica GreenEDGE bus for an hour or so and caught up with some of the boys about how the race was going. Claire even talked Dan Jones in to finding her the only guitar they had left at the bus for a souvenir! I was also pretty pleased to spy Veeral Patel from OneV hanging around waiting for some photos.
From there it was off to Europcar in search of Tommy Voeckler before Claire heard something about Andy Schleck having appeared from the Radioshack bus and was off to see if she could catch his eye.
We made our way past Team Sky on the way up to the start line, along the way confirming my thoughts that when I turn Pro I will be looking to Team Sky for my contract! Given Team Sky have the largest budget in the business (rumoured to be around EU$25m) their set up is incredible! Luxury Jaguars, Pinarello’s in triplicate for everyone at the start line and the shiniest bus in the fleet- yes please!
The start line was mayhem. The crowd was 6 deep, and if it weren’t for the bikes on roofs of the team cars, we would have had no idea the race had departed and was underway!
So a busy day, but plenty of time to catch up with blogging and relaxing before we hit the road for Alpe d’Huez in the morning!
p.s. for those following on Facebook, you'll know that I've skipped over Mont Ventoux and the Pyrenees in the blog. Don't worry- I'll be going back in the next edition!
Cameron is the Club Captain of the Kangaroo Point Cycling Club and will be blogging his way around France with the support of Claire the Treasurer and Aaron the President of the Kangaroo Point Cycling Club.