Watching the Tour of Switzerland – VerbierBy Will • Jun 20th, 2008 • Category: Climbs, Cycling
Woohooo! I cross the finish line at today’s Tour of Switzerland well before the pros – my first stage victory!
A very fun day watching the tour of Switzerland up at Verbier Ski Station.
Katy and I drove and parked near the bottom of the final climb, while Katy’s insane husband Eric rode from Geneva (272 kms round trip).
It’s a beautiful, hair-pinned climb up the side of the mountain – great views in every direction.
As we approached the top, we were allowed to ride the narrow, fenced in finish through the village. Pretty fun.
As I cooled off with a beer, one of the funnier parts of the day was listening to the “Official Tour de Suisse Theme Song” with a verse in German, French and then Italian. A catchy chorus,: “do do do Tour de Suisse. ”
One of the absolute highlights of the day was the excellent publicity caravan – where they throw out little gifts.
First, a Nestle van handed us ice cream. Then we received some bottle water to wash it down. As the Festina truck rolled by I longed for a free watch. But the Festina water bottle and lanyard was almost as good;
Even the power tool sponsor gave us Tour de Suisse caps.
The race itself was pretty exciting. We had been informed that two break away riders were a couple of minutes ahead at the start of the climb, then a minute ahead.
When they got to us they’d been caught. The Belgium National Champion was leading:
Closely followed by some big names – including the ultimate winner Kim Kirchen at the very back of photo.
My favorite photo of the day:
The very fun Grupetto:
As the huge grupetto approached they were all laughing and chatting. Suddenly, we saw a rider descending(!) at speed and they all started chanting “Anton! Anton” Yep I believe it was Anton the Eusakatel rider – who had already finished.
Then as Katy cheered them on and filmed them, a rider yelled “Origato” – Thank-you in Japanese. It was the CSC rider – Cancellera?
Dekker gets on MY WHEEL!
Several teams left their buses at the bottom. This meant that the road suddenly filled with Pros descending back down. After the broom wagon passed, we joined the descent – and were passed by maybe 30 more pros.
As we approached a big hairpin, Dekker got on my wheel and followed me for a while (apparently he knows how dangerous it is to pass me on a turn!!)
Pretty funny. I’d like to say I waved him through and got on his wheel ….. but before I knew it he flew past me.