Friday, July 23, 2010

Le Tour de France

Norway's Thor Hushovd wearing the best sprinter's green jersey.

Spain's Alberto Contador wearing the Maillot Jaune

Representative of California

Well today I got to watch nearly two hundred lycra-clad men tear-ass through our little town to begin the 18th stage of the Tour de France – Salies de Bearn to Bordeaux, a 198km flat stage.

The Tour de France is easily one of this nation's biggest events. The grueling 23-day, 21-stage race circles the country, and hits major cities and small villages, climbs the Alps and the Pyrenees, and climaxes on Paris' Champs Elysees.

The streets of our town had all been more or less blocked and barracaded off the night before. I awoke this morning to blarring music and voices of people heading down to the center of town to claim their spot along the street to watch the colourful cyclists go by. By the time I made my way down, there were helicopters overhead and people and police everywhere. The mood was fantastic, as everyone was very festive and excited. I can't remember seeing Lance, but I did see the maillot jaune wiz by, worn by Spain's Alberto Contador, as well as Andy Schleck - currently in second place and wearing the best young rider's white jersey, and Thor Hushovd of Norway wearing the best sprinter's green jersey.