Bring on the Tour

Have you been watching the Tour?  We sure have here at the office, and it’s certainly lived up to it’s billing as cycling’s highest drama this year.  We’ve seen highs, lows, and everything in between.  From the sublime mountain battles between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, to the (sometimes too feisty) sprint battles between Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi, Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar (although he’ll be sitting out the rest of the Tour), to the just plain bad luck of Lance Armstrong and Cadel Evans, there’s been a lot on offer for the cycling fan!

But the cool part is, there’s still a week to go before a new champion is crowned.  And the extra cool part–we’re going to have a man on the scene to report back on a first-hand experience watching the Tour! Yes, our own David is headed to France this weekend, courtesy of Europeds.  He’ll be reporting back from road daily to give you a you-are-there account of what it’s like to experience the Tour in all its glory, all part of our efforts to Celebrate the Tour.

OK, so what can you expect from our man in France?  First up on the agenda, nothing less than the Tourmalet, the highest point on the Tour this year at nearly 7,000 feet high (a mountain that caused Octave Lapize to famously call Tour officials “assasins” for making the racers climb it for the first time 100 years ago)!  David will be hopping on his trusty Fuji SL-1 to battle the beautiful but imposing slopes of the Tourmalet as the real riders of the Tour work their way down to the Pyrenees (but he will be bringing a few more gears than Lapize had at his disposal).  Of course he’ll bring his camera to document the whole experience for this blog.

Lapize didn't have a compact crank

Next up, David will tackle another famous pass in the Pyrenees, the Col d’Aubisque, but this time it will be to watch the madness that is sure to erupt on Stage 16 of the Tour.  David will be in amongst the throngs that line the mountain roads of the Tour, to watch riders up close and personal, but also to take in the whole atmosphere that comes along with this great traveling spectacle (including the massive publicity caravan both before and after the racers fly by).

The Tour riders have a rest day after Stage 16, so David will take this opportunity to explore the countryside with Europeds to take in the scenic beauty on offer in this southernmost part of France.  But the next day the Tour is back in action, so David will be there to check out what should be quite the battle on Stage 17 (as the route heads back to the Tourmalet for a summit finish).  This could be the spot where the Tour is decided this year, but as a special bonus David will get you some behind-the-scenes access this day, to get a little taste of what it takes to make a Tour team tick.

After the battles of the Pyrenees, the Tour winds it way to the wine country of Bordeaux.  The individual time trial of Stage 19 will mark the last real chance that anyone will have to sway the balance of the Tour, if there is any doubt after the epic mountain battles in the Pyrenees.  Of course David will be there at the finish, to watch the riders rocket to the finish in a last grasp for glory.

So are you excited yet?  David sure is, and he’s ready to share this whole experience with you.  Check the Performance Bicycle Blog daily for updates from France, and let David know in the comments if you’ve got any tips or questions while he’s on the road.  Like we said, it’s time to bring on the Tour!

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