Tour de France in Provence


One of many company cars that drove past before the tour began.


Here is the American team of Lance Armstrong, just like on TV.


And here he is—Lance Armstrong!

Since the Tour de France was in our part of Provence, we decided to go see it. We have seen it twice as it ended in Paris, but not in the country side. We arrived near Digne les Bains where this stage of the Tour de France ends and parked the car. We should have brought a picnic table and an umbrella as many did who were waiting for the bikers to pass. I spent alot of time in the car as I am the sunburn queen, but there was a nice breeze blowing off and on which helped. We had wanted to get up to the col, or pass, where the riders are going slower but the way was blocked, so we parked downhill from it. At first there were a few sponsors cars, then a bunch of sponsor vans throwing out gifts and really cute little cars decorated as various advertisement animals. At first I was in line to try and get the prizes thrown out until I realized it was mostly junk-not worth more than a quarter as far as I could tell. But it was fun and rather exciting and I know my grandkids would have loved it.
Then we sat and waited over an hour-we arrived around 11 AM and the bikers drove past about 3 PM- when we heard the approaching helicopter, always a sign that the tour is getting close. There was one lone biker with his car behind him, then one minute later, 5 more. Lance Armstrong wasn’t in that group but 5 minutes later here came the American riders all in a row and he followed in his yellow shirt which, by the way, he retained in today’s ride. It was all over in 10 miniutes, really, although some rider came 20 minutes later, poor thing. It was a fun experience. There were many little RV’s and I imagine that they follow the tour and are on site each day, something I think would be alot of fun and a great way to see France.
This is Lance Armstrong’s last ride. I’m glad I got to be a small part of it.