Woke with a hangover but we had no time to spare with Stage 10 of the Tour de France rolling into St Malo!
We cycled the 4 miles from our hotel into town to have a good look around. It was busy. Very busy. The course had already been set up, and as it was early it was still open to the public. We fancied a bit of that so joined the course at the 150 metre to go mark went from there to the Flamme Rouge (the 1km to go mark).
After spending a few minutes cycling back and forth under the red arches of the Flamme Rouge we cycled back up towards the finish. As we tootled down the course I took a few nice pictures of what the cyclists will be experiencing as they follow us down later on that day. This is why cycling is an amazing sport to follow – you wouldn’t get on the pitch of the Champions League final for a kick about before kick off!!
Video of me riding under the Flamme Rouge
We then spent the afternoon exploring the route for a good vantage point. We decided to watch from the 2km mark, at the bottom of the hill. After a quick Coke and a catch up of the race that had already started in a nearby bar we moved back to the side of the road and waited eagerly for the race to come.
Before the race ‘The Caravan’ drives along the course consisting of floats from sponsors throwing free stuff into the crowd, such as Haribo, pens etc. It’s a carnival atmosphere, everyone blowing whistles and cheering as these strange mechanical creations are driven past us. The best surely has to be the Vittel floats that drive past a soak the crowd with water. I do hope it’s Vittel that they are using!
After The Caravan it was time for the race. We were fortunate to be in front of an electrical shop showing the race so we had updates as to how close they were getting. 10k, 8k, 5k… Then they arrived. The police motorbikes rushed down the road then we heard the bikes. The noise is like a cross between a zip and a whistle as the tyres whirr on the hot tarmac. The peloton must have been doing 60kph as it zoomed past us and headed off towards the finish. As you can hear from the video below I got a glimpse of my cycling hero Mark Cavendish and gushed “come on Cav!” Unfortunately Cav didn’t win after stopping sprinting having knocked a fellow sprinter over.
Video of peloton screaming by at 2km point
And as quickly as that they had flown past. A few groups followed the main peloton but after five or so minutes that was all the riders safely past so we decided to cycle down towards the finish for a look at the team busses. It was a squeeze but we managed to get sight of the Omega Pharma Quick-Step bus which whisked an unhappy Cav quickly away and also spotted Sir Dave Brailsford putting bikes away outside the Team Sky bus.
We pushed and shoved our way through the crowds and made our way back to the 2km point where we had spied a restaurant that looked pretty decent. We parked the bikes up and enjoyed a three course steak dinner, wine and then home via the supermarket for a few cold beers to drink back at the hotel. We needed an early night as there would be quite a bit of cycling the following day to catch Stage 11 – an individual time trial – but I was not fully aware how much cycling and how hot it would be…
Here is a map showing the route we took following stage 10: