Tour de France 2012 - Stage 11

From Albertville to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles, this was a rare treat this year - a mountain top finish!

We had snapped up some tickets to the VIP area in La Toussuire which came along with a car pass, meaning we could drive up to the finish... and inevitably sit in hours of traffic coming back down again - but that is a price I knew we would always have to pay.

As a bonus we got to drop round to the Départ on the way and was interesting to see how much action was taking place despite it being many hours until the stage would get underway.

Moving on to the drive up to La Toussuire. This was a great experience in itself. Many fans had already lined the route and many cyclists were slogging uphill (invariably with a baguette sticking out of some pocket or bag) to find their place to cheer on the stars. It was a really great, festival like atmosphere going on and driving up through this (stopping for a chat with a couple of groups of Aussies and Brits) was almost as memorable as what was to come.

At the finish, after a short stroll around we found the allocated area and joined in the wait. Very pleasant and seems GreenEdge had been busy making sure as many Aussies infiltrated this area as possible wink Good on you guys! grin

I think it took us around three hours to roll (yes - engine off pretty much all the way) back down but so what? All part of seeing such an event live.


Passing Albertville en route to stage finish so stopped by Départ. Crazy busy given riders not due for 4 hours or so!


Driving the final climb to La Toussuire. Early in the day, but fans everywhere. Atmosphere is great & still building!


Stage 11 finish: lots of waiting, but also lots to see, lots of goodies to collect & of course lots to eat & drink tongue


Smiling winner Pierre Rolland rounds the final turn. Plus some other front runners not looking that bad considering.


Laurens Ten Dam, bane of @Strava users everywhere wink He's looking a bit tired now though... is there any wonder?!


Valverde comes home as Brajkovic & Kiserlovski trundle back down the course in search of the team bus no doubt.


Mountain finishes are great: plenty of chance to see everyone. Note the poor gear choice by Gianpaolo. Tut, tut wink


O'Grady leads in the main pack looking cool as. Take a look at the faces behind him though - it's been a tough day!


Eisel tows Cav (and a few others) in... 33 minutes behind Rolland.


Van Hummel the last to make the time cut, arriving alone 36 mins down. Krivtsov & Petacchi were even later. Ouch! sad


Riders trundling back down the finish straight. Pretty much the entire GreenEdge team & one very tired world champ!


Other random moments from the finishing straight (and the sky above it).


Heading home. We expected to take a long time to get down the hill, but with these views who cares?