Day 14: La RosiÃƒÂ©re
It’s our fourth Tour de France day! Today the 11th stage of the race starts in Albertville and works it’s way eastward to the ski station of La RosiÃƒÂ©re. The fun part about this stage is we (ok, mostly Matt) already biked portions of the route. On Monday, we biked from Areches to Bourg Saint-Maurice, passing over the Col du PrÃƒÂ© and the Cormet de Roselend. Today, Matt and the others will bike from Bourg Saint-Maurice up to La RosiÃƒÂ©re to watch the end of the stage. I’ll hike into town with Eileen and watch the race come through at the base of the climb.
Due to traffic and road closures, we parked the van a bit outside of Bourg Saint-Maurice, at the base of the 18 kilometer (~11 mile) climb to La RosiÃƒÂ©re. La RosiÃƒÂ©re is familiar because on Sunday we passed through the resort town on our ride to and from Col du Petit Saint Bernard. Today the Tour is taking a different (and slightly steeper) route thru Montvalezan to reach La RosiÃƒÂ©re — which will also be the route Matt and the gang are headed up.
While Matt and the others trudged their way up almost 5,000 feet on two wheels, Eileen and I stayed on two feet and walked from the van to Bourg Saint Maurice. We found the restaurant where we had lunch on Sunday, and Eileen managed to use her French to make us a reservation before we set off on a walk.
Our path took us from Bourg Saint Maurice to SÃƒÂ©ez, the next town on the route. Plenty of camper vans and cars were getting ready for the race. When we got to the end of the town, we turned around and walked back to the restaurant in time to meet Dave and Phil.
Meanwhile, Matt was riding to the top, along with Paul and Jason to watch the race. During lunch, Dave called Paul, who confirmed that Matt was “sitting under a tree, drinking a beer,” so I knew he was safe and happy.
When we finished lunch, Dave and Phil moved inside to watch the Tour on TV, while Eileen and I found a good spot outside. Matt, Paul, Jason and Martha descended to various portions of the steepest part of the climb (ranging from 4-6km from the finish line) to watch the race.
We saw another sponsor parade and scored some more TDF SWAG. I successfully caught some candy and snacks and stashed them for later. By comparison, it sounded like Matt’s catches up the mountain might have been vital for his survival (ok, slightly over-dramatic) and apparently his Goldbears/meat snack things were consumed ASAP!
Finally, the racers passed though. The earlier part of today’s stage included some very difficult climbs (including the Col du PrÃƒÂ© and the Cormet de Roselend that Matt biked on Monday), causing the riders to be pretty spread out. After most packs of riders passed us in the town, we returned to the restaurant to watch on TV. Then the race turned uphill where Matt, Paul, Jason and Martha had camped out in various spots. Here’s a video from Matt’s spot as Team Sky passed him on the mountain: Video
Once the race finished, Dave and Phil biked back to the van, while Eileen and I walked. The four watching from the mountain started to make their way down with the throngs of people and bikers. Paul, Jason and Martha were diverted to the main road down the mountain (the route we descended on Sunday), but Matt was already headed down the actual race route through Montevalezan, where he and hundreds of other bikers needed to wait about 20 minutes for Mark Cavendish to pass through, far behind the peloton. Spoiler alert: Cavendish didn’t make the time cut and was ousted from the race.
Paul and Jason made it back first, followed by Matt and Martha about 20 minutes later (thanks, Cavendish). The race finished atabout 5:30pm and we arrived back to the Chalet at about 8pm. We settled in and devoured another delicious dinner. Tomorrow we have an early start as we will bike/hike the epic Alpes d’Huez and watch Stage 12 of the Tour.