Since we didn't have enough interest in Legendary Climbs WEST to make it go this year we seized the chance to see the race in France where they give the leader a yellow shirt (we must be careful here as the ASO folks are VERY particular about the use of any of their copyrighted material) at Morzine-Avoriaz.
Less than two hours from our secret mountain location in Italy we hopped on the bikes near Les Gets and joined the mob riding to the top. This was the equivalent of the Alpe d'Huez stage for most and the BigTex fans were out in force.
We made it to within 300 meters of the finish line before being stopped by the French police but found viewing spots at the 100 meter mark and settled in for a broiling afternoon. (I must editorialize here that this climb seemed much easier than the climbs we were doing on Legendary Climbs EAST last week--the grades are much less steep though the heat was a challenge of its own but yours truly made it up without using his lowest gear -- something he's not able to do here in Italy)
Crowds not watching the big screen TV coverage were entertained by the publicity/promotion folks, including the inflated chicken hawking crackers and biscuits, which was our choice as the most amusing. The giant green hands that sliced open the arm of a poor sprinter years ago have been recreated in foam nowadays, so in addition to helping one look silly as in the photo, they made nice cushions to sit on behind the fence where we still could see the giant TV screen. BigTex fans were sad when their man crashed his way out of the race but we were happy to see Cadel Evans take the maglia gialla (I don't think ASO owns the rights to THAT name!) as race leader after his own crash. We're still debating on whether to go see tomorrow's stage live or simply relax here in the high mountains of Italy and watch it all on TV. Allez Cadel!