A day of two parts. Figuring today’s stage would maybe see good racing, but not GC changing action, we decided to head over to Lourdes for another wee shot of the Village Depart, get a bit of breakfast, chase soundbites from the folk on the race and watch the depart.

Lourdes
Chatting to Paolo of the Liquigas team.

Walking into the Village we got talking to a young American – bet you’re singing that now – who was on assignment from the Wall Street Journal. He had been to the Tour last year, but really doesn’t know much about bike racing. Ed took him under his wing and poured anecdotes and knowledge into his head.

A nice fella, so we didn’t mind helping to develop the great angles for stories he has, and we gave him a lift back to Lourdes with us, dropping him off at the Salle de Presse.

It was with deep joy that I discovered that the hotel was right on race route, at around 800m to go.

As we sat processing the pictures from the morning in our hotel room, we watched the race unfold over the Aubisque on the TV, and watched the race Caravan pass by the window outside.

When Thor and co had 20km to go, we headed outside and walked up the street, squeezing by the thousands of people on the roadside.

Lourdes
A lot of the guys looked pretty shell-shocked after today’s stage.
Lourdes
Hoogerland is a real man.

We pitched up at the team parking area just as the riders came back to their buses, as our angle for this afternoon was “job done, taking five, work just starts, relieved, in the bucket”.

Lourdes
Renshaw hard to work hard to earn his money today.
Lourdes
Cadel faces a couple of quick questions before being allowed to get showered.
Lourdes
Stage winner Thor was left alone after the presentation.
Lourdes
We helped him get reunited with his pasta.
Lourdes
Without the hassle and glory of the podium protocol, Sammy was already tucking into his apres-stage snack and en route to the hotel.
Lourdes
Ed grabs a shot of the new KoM.

It felt weird walking down the street and eating dinner before 8pm, but we did, and the restaurant we found was OK for Lourdes – but we’re still looking forward to moving on tomorrow, to Andorra, a first for me.

Lourdes
Levi had to answer a lot of questions, many of them not about him…
Lourdes
Dave and Shane take five minutes to themselves once the boys are away to the hotel in the team cars.

Au demain!