It rained almost all night long and my tent got a bit wet inside because I hadn’t pegged the vestibules down completely. After a quick shower we left the campsite for our ITT watching spot a little after 7 – they close the roads off at 9 and we didn’t want to risk getting stuck on the wrong side of a barricade.
A bus came along and discharged two gendarmes and they set up a barricade along the small side road that we’re across from – the cows in a nearby field were unimpressed. Only official cars were allowed on the ‘main’ road after that, and even cyclists were told to get off and walk their bikes.Many of the team cars drove by – scouting out the route, I guess – and some of the racers did a trial run. More and more people arrived, many without chairs – we thought ‘boy, are they going to be standing for a long time’, but….
The cavalcade came by about 1 or 1 ½ hours after the gendarmes arrived. It is so much more impressive that the Giro’s – it took over ½ hour for the whole thing to go past and I collected a pile of goodies, part of which I gave to the mother of some little girls. We found out soon enough why so many people hadn’t brought chairs – they left as soon as the cavalcade had passed – they were only there for the loot!
The ITT is only 32 km today, but it’s almost non-stop up and down and there are some very sharp corners. It had rained lightly most of the night, and continued for part of the morning so the roads, in places, could be challenging. We could see several different parts of the course from where we were, so we always knew ahead of time when someone was coming – and especially if the rider was French, as the crowds before us would go nuts.
We knew the start order so had a good idea when certain riders would be coming by – everyone was waiting for Sagan, of course. I got seven photos of the top of his helmet as he was looking down almost the whole time, but one shot isn’t too bad.
There was a group of three men and two boys that had been patiently watching and waiting for hours – one of the boys had a ‘king of the mountains polka dot jersey on, just like his hero – and it was quite funny because as soon as Alaphillipe passed they left! Didn’t even wait for the top 10 to come by.
Froome got booed as he passed – he’s not getting a very good reception here in France, and others on the team aren’t being that well received either. Dumoulin did well – he won the day, but still only placed second overall to Gerrant Thomas, Froome’s team mate on team Sky.
We headed back to the campground, then decided to go out for dinner. The road into Souraide was still closed from the race so we went north instead to Ustaritz, and was the going ever slow. Many people were leaving, although a surprising number stayed where they were – they were having parties on the side of the road here and there almost the whole way to the town.
We had a wonderful seafood-of-the-day dinner at Restaurant Du Labourd in Ustaritz. It was a lovely place – we arrived just after 7:00 and were told that dinner service didn’t start until 7:30 so we sat outside and had a drink first. The chef and some of the staff were at another table having their dinner before they got to work.