Category Archives: Tdf trip planning

Information on seeing the Tour de France in person, including the process I go through myself each year- figuring out the TdF route, finding places to stay, rental cars, trains & more.

Doping or not, nobody can admit they’re in awe of what it takes to win multiple TdFs

Jan Ulrich, doper, leading Lance Armstrong, doper, ahead of several other known dopers on the Tourmalet in 2003.
Jan Ulrich, doper, leading Lance Armstrong, doper, ahead of several other known dopers on the Tourmalet in 2003.

A day or two ago, Chris Froome talked about how tough it is to win the Tour de France, how you really can’t take it for granted that, just because you won previously, you should win the next year. Team Sky had suddenly fallen from being the future of the Tour de France for years to come, to an also-ran that appeared fatally-flawed through its dependence on a single person, an all-in plan with no backup.

Nobody else will say it, I will. Someday, somebody’s going to figure out that it ain’t so easy winning multiple TdFs, and that there’s more than just good doping required. Erasing Lance from history such that people are too scared to even mention that they’re in awe of him winning 7 TdFs… it’s just wrong. How long before somebody says “I don’t know how Lance did it…” and the conversation doesn’t turn PC and become nothing but doping?

Telekom was as doped to the gills as Postal, maybe more so. The Spanish teams were a joke, they were so gassed. Very, very few rode clean. It wasn’t just doping that won 7 TdFs (now erased). It was structure (of which doping was a huge part, yes, I get that), it was all-in for one guy, it was pushing cycling technology. Team Sky’s picked up on that, they’ve read the book, but nobody, ever, is able to admit that was the book they read. And no athlete is comfortable saying what they must be thinking.

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Lots of catching up to do, at the shop, on the hills…

A bit behind in posts again. Our flight from France (actually the final of three, Paris/Chicago/Denver/San Jose) got in at 10pm, waited just 10 minutes for our bags and… well, 4 of 5 arrived. Both bikes, good thing, but one didn’t make it. To United’s credit, someone from their baggage department quickly noticed us waiting there, everyone else gone, and asked if we were missing something. Did not seem like something that would happen at SFO. She got all the information, tracked it as best she could (it did make it to Denver…), and said it would most-likely come in on the 9:30am flight. Meantime I got every-4-hour text updates through the middle of the night (and beyond) letting me know that at least their computer hadn’t forgotten about me. It was a little disconcerting that there was no news after that 9:30am flight hit, but at 2pm I got a phone call at work saying the bags were here, and asked where I’d like them delivered. Around 5pm, the bag was home.

Got to say this was one of, if not the best, trip to France with my son. Perhaps even up there with my 2003 trip, the one where I got the cool photo of the young kid and old racer guy at the celebration of 100 years of the Tour de France. We got in some great rides, including a wrong turn or two that took us to some fantastic roads, made new friends, had very few issues with our bikes (one flat, one damaged tire), saw two stage finishes, great flights (yes, really)… lots of wonderful memories. Every year I’m thinking, this might be the last, I should do something else, but things just clicked so well, it’s tough not to want to do it again. Even the mortality issue seems set aside; I had none of the”over the hill” experiences like two years ago, where I completely fell apart on the Tourmalet and wondered if I’d ever want to do a really challenging climb again.

Our accommodations were incredibly variable; from the ultra-utilitarian apartment/hotel in Lourdes to the funky built-around-1600 leaning & twisted 3-story B&B in Bergerac that could be best considered “quaint” to the faux-Ritzy Montparnasse Pullman in Paris. No question the Bergerac accommodations were most-memorable, and for the person looking for that different, only-in-France experience, that would be the place sought after.

–More shortly–

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