We caught a stage of the Giro d'Italia that came through the Tuscan town where we were staying but we were delighted to discover that another stage came through our own little Lazio village while we were there. We had expected to travel to see the boys and only found out that morning that we just needed to go down the hill and wait. The riders were only a few miles from the end of a very long stage and climbing so they passed slowly and I got a great view of the pink jersey and eventually winner of the Giro, Alberto Contador, fantastic.
Before we left for Italy Mr FF had suggested that on the way home we might go into Paris to see the last day of the Tour de France, driving into Paris, the crowds etc, none of that appealed to me, but I was amenable when he said we could pick up the penultimate stage as we travelled home. Saturday we crossed from Italy into France and headed towards a little town the Tour passed through but unfortunately several slip roads from the motorway were closed off, in both directions causing massive queues for travellers. We did however manage to come off the motorway further on and make out way back, we parked up and just followed the crowds.
This was a big day for the riders including the notorious climb to Alp D'Huez, you can see from the background how steep and high the mountains are. I think seeing Team Sky leading the yellow jersey Chris Froome and the look of total concentration on his face as he battled to maintain his lead was my best ever cycling experience, apart from when I got a drinks bottle from one of the riders. Amazing and also unbelievable that I managed to get a photograph.
The town was beautifully decorated for the stage visit, look at this they even had the Yorkshire flag flying.
Sunday we drove towards Calais for our last overnight before the ferry and Mr FF offered to drive to the start of the last day, no racing apart from the final sprint and the boys all taking it easy so we might see more. I was up for that but again the slip roads were all closed so we pressed on, me thinking we were in the suburbs of Paris on our way out when suddenly this was before me.
Oh no, that's not what I wanted to do. We parked up and took a walk round in the rain but although it was early afternoon we couldn't find much indication that such a major event was taking place. Eventually Mr FF spoke to some people who told us that the Tour didn't start till 4.30 and wouldn't be in town until at least 5.30, we had some distance to travel and it was 1.30 then. After rather tense discussion about checking the route but not the time we got back into the car. We then drove round central Paris for about 3 hours, so many roads closed, so much traffic, not a fun experience. We arrived at our b&b around 6.30 apologised for being late and explained what had happened. Madam immediately whisked us into her beautiful home where we joined her husband in front of the television to watch the final hour or so of the Tour with a glass in our hands. If Mark Cavendish had won the sprint it would have been perfect, it was pretty good anyway.
So I've seen the Tour de Yorkshire in my home town, two stages of the Giro d'Italia and one of Tour de France, I am such a biking groupie, my best year ever.