Couhe – Tour of Poitou-Charentes Stages 3 and 4

No ride for us today as it’s a ‘double day’ for the Tour of Poitou-Charentes – there’s a 97.9 km road race in the morning followed by a 22.9 km ITT in the afternoon.  We went first to the town of Couhe, which was hosting the final of both, with the road race coming through twice.

0CF4E3B8-8C32-4D5B-A925-11DA6E21FAD8On the way to Couhe Colin saw a bunch of birds circling in the sky – they were cranes and he thought they were getting ready for formation to head south – do they know something we don’t?

52ECB9B7-949C-4797-B3D1-2EB6D437F867We got a really good spot to watch from overlooking the finish line and had brought the camping chairs as it’s going to be a long day.

I was a bit disappointed by the shot I got of the winner of the stage coming in – Colin’s photo was awesome – rider sitting up with arms wide knowing he’d won – mine – well it’s not quite as good.

D1BAA481-10FB-4FFC-AA41-D3EA40706302At the end of the road race stage we stayed for most of the podium presentations, which started with a nice tribute to Sylvain Chavanel for his career – he’s a local fellow and is retiring this year – a big crowd favourite.

E2812635-986B-49F4-8F8E-37DC8CF3D108Then it was on to the day’s winner, Arnaud Demare, who is currently the overall leader as well.  I’m not sure how many things he got in all – 3 bouquets of flowers, two bicycle sculptures, a bottle of champagne, a large round torte (looked like a pizza…), a stuffed rodent (looked like a large rat, but cute).  Every time he got a bouquet he removed one flower and gave it to the hostess.

A922F7B0-4216-46B1-A444-AEB13BB0DA78We decided not to stay in our spot for the ITT – it was too hot and being in the sun for another 6 hours didn’t seem like a great idea.  We walked around the corner to a cafe and got a little table under the canopy where we sat and had a really nice lunch – quiche Lorraine with a large fresh salad.  I even had the dessert that came with it. The cafe was so busy they ran out of chairs so we gave a fellow one of ours and I sat in a camping chair.

EF112D83-81F7-4A45-9C25-E3A6F0009F48We made it out of the town and drove partway along the time trial route to pick a spot – ended up in the village of Ceaux en Couhe where we setup the chairs again and proceeded to wait.  We think the stage started about ½ hour late, but eventually the riders started to appear.

B4A7BD48-92D8-43D0-B9DC-7F50ECCFC1E5Back in Mansle Neil met us at the bar for a drink or two, then we went home – it had been a fairly long outing.  Colin and I walked back down and ordered donair kebabs from the little place next to the bar – we were very surprised that we had to wait, but it was extremely busy.  They don’t serve felafel and the fries aren’t homemade but the meat in the donair was excellent.

 

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