Le Tour Diary | Stage 1

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Well the Tour de France has finally begun and it marks a milestone in a cyclist’s yearly calendar. To me, growing up in North America, it always signifies that summer has officially begun. It’s not quite the same living Down Under, but there’s a certain festiveness that cyclists share during the Tour – even if it is dark, cold and wet in much of Australia. Wherever I am, I absolutely love it.

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. I watched the beginning of the stage on TV pass through the much anticipated “Passage du Gois” which turned out to be a bit of a letdown compared to 1999’s drama and upset:

In any case, the very fact that a road like this was built in the first place and that the race goes through it is cool to see.

After watching the first hour of the stage a couple of us hopped on our bikes and rode to the Montreaux Jazz Festival (one of the most famous Jazz Festivals in the world). My mate Trevor reckons that his hometown Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival is much better, but that’s up for debate.

After taking in the atmosphere on Lake Geneve we headed to a pub and caught the last hour of the race on TV. It was quite contentious at times as many patrons wanted to watch the Wimbledon woman’s finals, but we stood our ground and got our way. It sometimes pays to have a big farmboy from Wagga Wagga with you.

I gotta hand it to Gilbert. He was a marked man and a favorite in this stage after his domination in the Ardennes Classics. Talk about class!

I hope the fan who caused the crash is okay, but it really is unfortunate that the riders have to deal with variables like this that could ruin their race. It’s not possible to put 190km of fence along the route so I doubt this type of problem will every go away.

Tomorrow I travel to spend a few days with Veeral Patel chasing the Tour and taking photos. I’ll be helping him lug his camera equipment around and taking orders since he was able to sweet talk a media pass for me. Not that I really need a media pass for anything. It just gives me an excuse to take photos of the pretty French girls for you.

Final Kilometers

Photos

Stage 1 Results

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 4:41:31
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:06
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack
8 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
9 Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
10 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad

64 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek 0:00:06
87 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:00:06
103 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:01:55
109 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:02:16
183 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:00:06

General Classification after Stage 1

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 4:41:31
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:06
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack
8 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
9 Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
10 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad

51 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek 0:00:06
59 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:00:06
78 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:00:06
119 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:01:55
125 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:02:16

Stage 1 Trivia

1. When was the last time the Tour de France did not start with a prologue stage?

2. Who won Stage 2 in the 1999 Tour de France the last time the race crossed the Passage du Gois?

3. How many TdF stages has Philippe Gilbert won in the past?

4. In a Team Time Trial, how is the team’s time decided? Is it:

a) the first rider who crosses the line
b) the last rider who crosses the line
c) the 3rd rider who crosses the line
d) the 5th rider who crosses the line

5. In which stages of the 2011 TdF does the 3km rule not apply? Answer on the Inner Ring.

Stage 2 Preview

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