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HomeDiariesLe Tour '11, Stage 12 - the Tour on the Tourmalet

Le Tour ’11, Stage 12 – the Tour on the Tourmalet

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Looking for a nice meal in Lourdes with great service? That’s too bad, you’ll struggle to find it! We were lucky to come across the only half-civil waiter in the town after landing in the third restaurant of the night, after being variously ignored by staff and stared at by local idiots in the first two places we tried.

Tourmalet
Campers on the Tourmalet.

Today’s plan: head up to the start at Cugnaux and get a Village Depart breakfast, then drive on race route until the famous climb of the Tourmalet, where we pitched up around 3km from the top.

Tourmalet
Spanish folk, guising as Germans. Dunno why.

It’s always a difficult moment when we just bung the car into a semi-appropriate spot, usually right in front of a family sitting at their table outside their camper van, at a site they carefully picked three days ago for the uninterrupted view!

It wasn’t very long until the Caravan hurtled up the mountain, with the lasses dispensing all manner of complete tat to the fervent crowd.

Tourmalet
Geraint has become a beast – not the young lad we first met years ago.

It’s funny how grown men lose all sense of what’s decent behaviour when the prospect of a free sample of strawberry Nesquick lands at their feet. They’ll fight old ladies and toddlers alike for the honour of adding it to their freebie pile at the roadside.

Tourmalet
There’s a new Smurf film coming out?!?

We’d heard on race radio that Geraint had made it back into the break after coming off twice, and it was great to watch him reach us first. Jeremy Roy was chasing hard though, and we saw on the TV later that he caught G and passed him at the summit, taking the Souvenir Jacques Goddet prime, which is worth a lot of money.

Tourmalet
Jeremy Roy is riding brilliantly.

Once the chasers and two main autobuses had passed, we got the car going, and hurtled down towards Ardiden. We didn’t go up the final climb – this would only have locked us up there amidst thousands of race and fan vehicles for hours, so instead we listened to the race on the radio then headed down to Lourdes on the motorway.

A quick GPS lock onto the hotel, and we were happy lads, as we checked in and found the wi-fi in reception to be pretty quick.

Tourmalet
Boss, let go the bottle.

After getting all the pictures and words away to Pez, and feeling pretty hungry, we headed next door for a simple and quick pizza – or so we thought.

Tourmalet
Some nutters from Barcelona.

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Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

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