Tour de France Immerse yourself in the rush towards the Alpe d’Huez
Lematin.ch paused in some laces from the legendary ascent of the French track, the arrival of the 12th stage of the Tour de France this Thursday.
- On an equal footing
- Sylvan Bolt
- Christian Millard
Before us is a legend: the climb to the Alpes d’Huez. Twenty-one laces, an open-air theater from 717 to 1860 meters above sea level where thousands upon thousands of spectators of all ages and from all nations gathered on the roadside. Since 1988 is the curve of the Dutch, the number seven, the most famous, where it should be.
It’s become a gathering of the Batavian ever since Jupp Zutemilk, Henny Kuiper, Peter Weinen, Stephen Rox and Gerd-Jan Teunice won there. For six days and six nights before the race, beer flows and the sound system roars. We drink, dance, swing, excited while waiting for the contestants, often for hours, under the heat wave and the playful eye of the gendarmes who come to make sure the contestants can pass.
As the tour goes on, this is where the nerve center of this little festival comes into play. Over thirty degrees this Thursday when our old Peugeot suffered terribly between every turn as we passed Superman and many other fans in disguise. With all these guys, electric scooters and these many brave cyclists (including a ten-year-old in a yellow jersey) skating between cars and team buses, we lost turn 16. There, Morris “Old”, 96, who attended all Tour passes, including the first in 1952 and the victory of Fausto Kobe. It was six hours before the heroes arrived…
“We can’t wait to see Jonas Weinggaard climb the Alpes d’Huez in yellow!”
On the 16th turn of the climb, Jasper and his two sons placed their Danish flags and a portrait of their hero Jonas Vinggaard on the low roadside wall. “We went up on foot this morning, walked about half past one, smiling dad who wore a yellow shirt for the occasion. We chose this turn because it’s not too high, but above all because there is a restaurant not far away! It’s crazy, we’ve met so many Citizens in climbing!
The Danish family, shook in the rain during the opening trial in Copenhagen, is nervous for Jonas Weinggaard: “We can’t wait to see him climb the Alpes de Huys in yellow, but it’s going to be tough today because the Pogacar is avenger!”
“We wanted to live the Alps on July 14, it’s a niche!”
Nicholas and his son Janis got into the car the day before and camped at fourteen, in order to pitch their tent there all night. “It was hot and there was a noise from the Dutchmen’s turn there, Auvernat laughs. The locals advised us to take this turn, plus there is a bar not far away. We wanted to live in the Alps on July 14, it’s a niche!”
A few hours before the start of the Briançon – Alpe d’Huez stage, David Gaudu fans tremble a little for their hero. Nicholas laughs: “I’m a little afraid our David will take 15 minutes.” “Well, at worst, we also have a thibaut (pinot), huh!” He took control of his son Yannis.
“It’s great to share that same struggle with all these cyclists!”
Among the many cyclists who have crossed on the ascent of 21 moorings, we meet Isabel the Brave, who pulls her six-year-old son Mathieu. “He went up the first kilometers on his own, but then I put the rope to pull him in, and mom smiled. Even on an electric bike, I sweat! But it’s great to share that same struggle with all these cyclists!”
The duo are waiting for the rest of the family, which is just below. “This is our third stage in the Tour de France, we have already been in Calais, in Arenberg on the cobblestones but also in the Dôle,” says Isabel. But the Alps are still legendary!”
“The party with the Danes was brutal last night. That’s the magic of the tour!”
Since arriving in their ninth turn on Sunday, Liam (the man in the red bandana) and his Belgian pals have become best friends with the Norwegians and Danes. “Yesterday we shook during Jonas Vingegaard’s completion and I can tell you the party was brutal last night, he’s screaming in the rest of his voice. That’s the magic of the tour!”
From the site, revelers have an unobstructed view of the valley. “Honestly, it would be hard to leave this paradise, Liam smiles. We became fans of Jonas (Vingegaard) and hope Pogacar attacks in turn. We will leave anyway for a night of madness!”
“There will be a great battle between Pogacar and Vingegaard, it will be fun!”
When you live at the foot of the Alpe d’Huez and love cycling, you will have no choice but to watch the Tour de France. This is what Camille and his brother Maxime, 17 and 14, who live in Bourg-d’Oisan, told each other. So they decided to do some 21 laces on foot and with a backpack. “We don’t really know where to stop, we’ll look for a place where there is shade,” exclaims the older sister, passionate, like the Queen’s little brother, from a young age.
His brother adds: “Our dad also rode a bike in the 90s, but not as a professional. Immediately we liked the sport by watching the stages on TV. Bad luck for these two fans, Maxime dreamed of seeing Mathieu van der Poel and his sister… Julian Alaphilippe at work.” They say, with what happened on Wednesday, there’s going to be a big fight between Pogacar and Vingegaard, it’s going to be awesome!”
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