One of the great things about living in France is the chance to see international cycling events just about on our doorstep.
Today we went along to watch stage 2 of Le Tour Méditérranéen. This is a five-stage cycling event that is being held along various stretches between Limoux and Grasse. Today’s stage happened to be a 24km time trial between Cap d’Agde and Sète – an area we know very well as it’s one of our favourite routes.
The conditions weren’t great today. While there was lovely sunshine and not too many clouds, there was a very strong wind. We rode to Sète, had café near the canal at the western side of town, then braved the wind for as long as we could. Being a time trial stage, we didn’t get the fun of a peloton; it was each individual rider spaced about a minute apart, usually followed by a support vehicle. So after about an hour in that biting wind, we decided we’d had enough.
Congratulations to the winner of today’s stage, Lars Boom, who averaged almost 45km/h in the wind followed by a climb up Mont St Clair in Sète (photo courtesy of the official FaceBook page for Le Tour Mediterraneen 2013) – I know personally just how TOUGH and cold that wind was today!
There were a few spectators around the main roundabout in Marseillan Plage, but we probably forever remain mystified about why one particular Frenchman was calling out & pointing at us as we stopped to take some more pics, and again as we rode past him further down the road (well away from the race). We’ll probably never know if we committed some terrible crime by crossing the race-route at the crossing manned by about 6 police (who didn’t mind) or if he was just yelling in general about spectators or the race itself. Our French listening skills still aren’t that developed!
But the real drama of the day was the shock announcement that the planned 3rd stage (tomorrow) has been cancelled as the local prefecture authorities did not give their authorisation for the event. It seems many people are very disappointed and unhappy, as it seems the organisers were trying their best to come up with alternative routes to suggest to the authorities. This can’t be a good day for cycling in France.