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.
On 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?
We 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.
At 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.
Then 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.
We 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.
We 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.
Back 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.