On the Road to Gay Paris - #TdF2015 Finish minus one

Topbike on Tour - Topbike in Sunflowers

Today all of France is very happy, after Pinot’s win on top of the Dutch mountain (otherwise known as Alpe d’Huez) yesterday.

Unfortunately the euphoria will be shortlived, as this evening, the Maillot Jaune is set to go west, over the channel, and the stage win on the Champs Elysses is likely to either follow, or go east to Germany. Thirty years and counting since their last ‘hometown’ win…c’est la vie!

A few other thoughts from the previous two weeks.

Froome report:

While he rides the bike with all the style, or panache if you prefer, of a Thunderbirds puppet with broken strings, he’s still managed to beat everyone. I’m amazed, as I did not expect anyone to be able to out climb the Colombian Quintana, and his lieutenant, convicted drug cheat Valverde. But then, I’m still amazed every time Froome stands up. Maybe I’m just easily amazed.

Podcast report:

If you haven’t been downloading all the SBS TdF podcasts, you could do it now. The Froomie & Roomie episodes, presented by Annabelle, are keeping us amused all the way to Paris.

Sky report:

In the Pyrenees, the winner of this year’s E3 Harelbeke (a cobbled spring classic) chased down Nairo Quintana, when he went on the attack, catching him easily. That’s a marked improvement in three months. In E3, Geraint Thomas got in a break with Sagan and Stybar, no less. Both great spring classic riders. After working with them for a while, he dropped both of them, before soloing away for the win. He did have a bad day in the alps, but on most other stages he could be seen riding, and finishing with the GC contenders. Amazing.

Lance report:

Last week Lance stated that the reason Froome is under suspicion is because of him. Uh-uh-uh Lance. You may be the most infamous cheat, but you’re not the only one. We know you need the attention, but you are not that deserving. You have to accept that the Essendon Football Club is equally as responsible. Let’s just make that all cheats, ever.

Skippy report:

Looks like we’re going to start this tour with a bang, and finish with a whimper. At least Rohan Dennis will have racked up two stage wins. Cross your fingers for Matthews on the Champs Elysses, he’s a long shot, but at least he’s still got a shot.

Carbon neutrality report:

Bike riding is an extremely efficient means of transport, but the tables are turned once it becomes a race. It takes 3,500 people to manage the Tour de France and while the race may cover 3,500k, the support team probably travels over 7,000k. Approximately 9 million kilometers are driven. Factor in the helicopters, the crowds, travelling from all points of the compass (many flying) and consider that it was estimated half a million plus fans occupied Alpe d’Huez on the penultimate race day. More than five thousand tonnes of fuel are burnt, FOR A BIKE RACE.
I would hazard Bathurst, the Formula 1 GP at Albert Park, and the Moto GP at Phillip Island, all together, are more fuel efficient.

Anna Wilson (Topbike A1 staffer) - One of Australia's greatest cyclists enjoying a little french immersionPhotos:

Top: Topbike Sunflowers (obligatory).
Lower: One of Australia's greatest cyclists enjoying a little french immersion, Anna Wilson (Topbike A1 staffer).
(* Photos and text by David Olle).

Cuisine report:

Where to start?

For dinner we’ve had four nights of Haute Cuisine, followed by five nights of traditional French home cooking. More duck than you could shoot in duck season, if we had one. Most nights, the third course was a whopping cheese platter. Desserts to die for. Not always chocolate and cream overload, but mostly.

Interestingly, on top of the appropriately named Col de la Morte (hill of the dead – the Cat 3 KOM on Thursday) the two choices for lunch of ‘Plat du Jour’ were ‘Mussels and Frites’ – we knew we were in the alps, a long way from the sea, so we opted for the second choice, ‘Spaghetti Bolognese with Roast Chicken’.
Don’t ask, ‘twas as gruesome as it sounds. The frogs should know to leave spaghetti to the wogs.

TOUR DE FRANCE PARIS - July 15–25 2016*

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