Europe 2005- TdF

On July 9, 2005, with a very heavy heart after the loss of a very close friend’s baby, I flew to Geneva, Switzerland to watch the 2005 TdF.  This time I took my bike- which was a good/bad thing.  After arrival in Geneva on July 10, I got my bike out of the cardboard box and put it back together, then rode down to the bus stop.

I caught a bus in downtown Geneva that took me to the beautiful town of Annecy, France.  I was pretty tired from the flight and didn’t have a good, safe route to ride.  It was a good decision.  Once in Annacy,  I rode about 5 miles to a campground on the north shore of Lake Annecy, ate dinner at the local diner and fell asleep for about 12 hours.  The next day I got up, ate some breakfast and rode about 35 miles to Albertville and then up into the mountains to a town called Moutiers.  Randomly, I saw my friend Dave Couture, who I had met at the Tour in 2003, driving.  He picked me up and drove me to the top of Courchevel 1850.  I set up my tent, hung out with them and slept in my tent.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos (this was back when digital cameras were still pretty lousy).  Anyway, I was carrying very light gear and I froze that night.  I was very glad to get up in the morning and see the sunshine.

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We took turns riding my bike down to the bottom of the climb prior to the riders racing.  Courchevel is a major ski destination for rich European skiers.  It was very nice up there.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

We were getting very excited for the race and riding the last part of the course showed us how amazingly hard it was.  Whew!MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The caravan came rolling through about an hour before the riders, as normal.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

In 2005, it was super exciting to see Lance Armstrong leading Michael Rasmussen,  Alejandro Valverde and Francesco Mancebo.  Armstrong ended up gifting the day’s win to Valverde, but easily grabbed the yellow jersey from…yep, Jens Voigt.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Ivan Basso came by about a minute later.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Levi Leipheimer right after Basso.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Jörge JakscheMINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Cadel Evans, Floyd Landis.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Jan Ullrich being pulled by Andreas Klöden.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Jens Voigt.  Awesome!  Maybe his last time in Yellow?MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

That night I slept in Dave’s car and still froze.  At 6,000 feet, even in July, it was cold.  One hilarious thing about that night is that a group of French guys that were probably working in the caravan showed up drunk in our parking lot at about 2 in the morning.  They cranked Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and sang every song with their strong French accents.  It was hilarious. 

The next morning we went down to watch the start of the next stage.  I had the opportunity to meet Thor Hushovd, who was super nice and actually talked to me.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The olympic ski jumps were pretty insane!MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

These guys apparently liked Christoph Moreau.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

It was pretty weird seeing Chery Crow just walk by.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s Armstrong in Yellow, Rasmussen in polka dots and Tom Boonen in Green..MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

That night I took the train to Grenoble, got totally ripped off by Delta Airlines for a flight back to Seattle two days later from Lyon.  But I needed to get back for a funeral.  This was a bitter-sweet trip.

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