Overlap with the official Tour..

Stage 17:  Saint-Gaudens to St Lary Pla d’Adet (124.5 km)

Our second stage in the Pyrenees today – 100km shorter than yesterday’s, so we were optimistic about finishing at a reasonable hour, with time to savour the experience and enjoy a leisurely meal.  But that’s not how this week is going so far…  We hadn’t realised that Stages 16 and 17 overlapped slightly – not by very much, but it was enough to hold us up for 3 and a half hours, while we waited for the road to re-open. Never seen so many cyclists in one place! Was great to be able to see the professional riders again, but we had hoped we could sneak past once they had gone through, (as we did last time this happened).  However, the gendarme on duty was a ‘more than my job’s worth’ type who made it clear that if we knew what was good for us we would do what we were told and wait until he said we could go.  The good news was that I amassed a great cache of Tour souvenirs -T-shirt, hat, bag etc!

So – yet another really late finish, with a long and ‘unremittingly steep’ climb up the St Lary.  That was the least of the challenge – being so late meant that we got mixed up in the convoy of articulated lorries carrying all the official Tour equipment up the mountain, (the barriers, finish structures etc).  Complete mayhem.  Then one of the lorries jack-knifed on a corner bringing everything to a standstill, (and causing Martin and his bike to fall slowly sideways into the ditch when he couldn’t get his shoes unclipped from the pedals in time.  Luckily there were no further injuries to add to the ones he suffered last week).

We then had to travel in the van back down the mountain as more Tour convoy went up, (think we were on the receiving end of a fair amount of abuse..).

Farcical end to the day when we reached the town and Mark ran ahead to get a table in one of the restaurants with us to follow.  Communication between us to find out where he was proved difficult when I found I had mislaid my phone, Mark had left his in the van and Martin couldn’t work out how to operate his….. who says we are organisationally challenged? (I DO… (Ali)) We did eventually find each other and luckily the meal was well worth the effort.

Only 338 miles to go.



1 thought on “Overlap with the official Tour..

  1. jane

    Well done for not getting arrested by the gendarme . It must have been frustrating to have to wait for the convoy to go past . What a shame that the stages over lapped but I bet it was exciting seeing all the followers and soaking up the enthusiasm and atmosphere .
    It has got to be the hardest,longest sporting event ever. Well done we are so proud of you.

    A neighbours mum rang me from her holiday to ask how you are getting on. You have an impressive fan club.

    Well done to all the back up team’s who have have given up their holiday to support you.
    What an impressive entry on their CV! chauffeur,catering manger,entertainer…..
    Not forgetting Ali who without her the blog wouldn’t get posted.

    Martin didn’t tell me that he had fallen off for the second time. Hope his elbow is okay and not forgetting his pride!.

    Waitrose had a cheese map of Le tour de France, it will be interesting to know if you sampled any.

    Love Jane & Ellenxx


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