Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tour De Pforzheim

Well I finally got around to loading and formatting the pics from the weekend Tour De France appearance in Pforzheim (which I rushed back from Paris to catch, more on that later). The TDF has only ever been in Pforzheim once before in 1987, so it was a rare treat especially since I've never seen the TDF before and it's something that I definatly wanted to do once (and as it turns out ONLY once) but that I wouldn't go much out of my way to see it. For those of you who accuratly point out that Pforzhiem is not in France, you are correct :-) The TDF always has a couple stages that actually start or end in a nearby border country, so this is not abnormal. I guess this is for marketing reasons as well as the fact that the borders of France were not always like they are today ;-) So for those of you who missed it (snicker, read on for why), here's my photo montage of the day:

I thought this was hilarious. On the way to the track I saw this official TDF van parked next to a tow sign. The French just don't have any respect for German laws ;-) Obviously we were headed in the right direction :-)



Here's the bridge located downtown Pforzheim, notice the large "Hier Start" sign that's been there for the last month or so. This is important for later. I like the spraypainted bikes they strung up, very shick :-)



I had checked the TDF website the night before to confirm the start time. They had listed 9:45am as the "pre-start" and 10am as the "real start". At 9:30 I saw a parade start to come by the path, there was no way the race was going to start at 10, I was starting to get grumpy that I had woke up at 8 and waited for over an hour (to get a good view) only to realize I could have slept in my comfy bed for longer... as I would soon find out, much much longer. Click on the photo for a short video of "when the tour, goes marching in" :-)



I love these blow up air guys, the 67's (my favorite junior hockey team) have got one at the civic centre, I could watch them for hours... no I'm not stoned ;-)



Finally! The riders start to warm up. The crowd enthusiastically cheer them on as they slowly roll past, Ulrich of course gets the biggest cheers followed by a close second for Team CSC.



The man:



The Roo ;-) Love the shades :-)



Now here's the best part. After waking up at 8am for a published 10am start, which actually didn't even go until 11am, standing in a jam packed stinky crowd for over 2 hours just to watch the bicycles wizz by in 10 seconds... I didn't even get to see them wizz!!! Despite the sign (mentioned earlier), despite the path map showing my corner as part of the track, the bikers actually started about 250m west of my location, travelling west... this means I got screwed!

Brutal.

Moral: if you want to watch a stage of the TDF, go 2 hours after the stated start time and don't bother listening to the clueless organisers and make sure you follow the warmup cyclers so that you don't miss the start, at least the riders know where they're going!

At least I had some fun later in the day :-) Ride on!


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