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Posted on: 15th July 2014

Alsace to Alpes

July 14—ALSACE TO ALPES

After a morning conquering the mountains the PAC peloton had the pleasure of encountering the same storm as the Protour. Wet to the skin, the guests had resigned themselves to a cold wait for the race to pass, but Rudy came to the rescue. Whilst passing through the picturesque mountain village of Plancher-les-Mines, he applied his superior Belgian charm to persuade a lovely French lady to shelter us in her garage. Soon we found ourselves squeezed into her tiny living room with a tray of hot coffee and biscuits, watching Contador crash out of the race from the comfort of a couch.

Rumours swirled about his departure from the race: will we ever know the truth behind the mystery? Stories are coming from riders that the team was riding erratically; overtaking in dangerous areas. I know of three different reports of riders complaining how Contador and his teammates were overtaking in treacherous sections, despite the team’s stance that it was just a case of slippery roads. There are also whispers of a bike malfunction and a cover-up of the lightweight Specialized bike that was used during the crash. What a PR nightmare if the favourite was taken out of the race by his own bike. Such intrigue!

Back in town, the helicopters arrived and we roused ourselves from our padded armchairs in time to see the riders whizz pass, reserving our loudest cheers for Richie Porte. Of course, we all wanted to see a big battle with Froome and Contador, but with both out it really strengthens Richie’s chances to gain the top of the podium. 

We are just hoping that he doesn’t crack under the pressure. He has won some big races such as Paris-Nice, but the Tour De France is something else. There will suddenly be a lot more attention focused on Richie now that the big favorites are out of the race. In any case, he’s performed admirably so far.

The moment the race was over, the sun came out and we drove towards showers and a special Bastille Day Dinner. That morning a few riders had taken a rest day and enjoyed exploring the local foothill towns where everything was abuzz with preparations for an evening of feasting and celebration.

In the spirit of this year’s tour, Rudy and I entertained the guests with our most impressive crash stories—only ever slightly embellished—while everyone savoured every bite of their delicious dinner. 

July 15—Alsace to Alpes

After yesterday’s 130km day in the mountains our guests were also ready for a rest day. Following a gentle “coffee ride” into the medieval city of Colmar we bid farewell to the Route des Vins d’Alsace, bound for Grenoble.

It was sad to leave our little Beblenheim retreat, but we had an enjoyable trip through the Alpes.

As we headed south, the mountains grew higher and higher as we drove deeper into the valley. Our guests trembled in anticipation of climbs to come. I’ll say it was anticipation and not fear, anyway.  Tomorrow the spectacular Chartreuse Mountains await, but until then another wonderful traditional French meal in a new city! This is becoming a foodie blog…

Written by Phil Anderson


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