Better late than never, I suppose. I just got back from France yesterday and didn't have access to a computer until today. Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the photos I took of the now-famous Stage 17.
I stayed in a hotel in Huez-en-Oisans, roughly 5 km from the finish. First, a couple of pictures to set the stage. This one is from just above Virage 1. The little village you see down there was where I stayed.
This one is from Virage 9.
Prior to the race, I did as Drew suggested and added my own graffiti to the slope of the Alpe. This is just below Virage 6.
I haven't looked for it yet on my recording of the stage, but I suspect it wasn't visible because people were crowded in pretty close when the riders went by. I imagine, at best, you'd be able to see the "di" and "fe". Well, I tried...
Anyway, on the day of the race, me and thousands (anyone have any idea how many of us were out there?) of my closest friends were waiting with eager anticipation.
One way you can tell the riders are close is when you see or hear the helicopters.
Unfortunately, I had a camera malfunction when Sastre went by. It's my great (albeit only) regret of the trip. Nevertheless, I managed to capture the rest of the heads of state as they went by.
And, among others, Arvesen and Cancellara.
And le autobus.
(copied from video I took)
All in all, a great day, and very thrilling. I echo Albertina in suggesting anyone who can go should go. In fact, although I had thought of this going in as a once in a lifetime experience, I'm already thinking about going back again at some point (but first, I want to do the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. But that probably won't come off for a few years).
The depart the next day in Le Bourg D'Oisans didn't interest me too much, so, since I had rented a car, I drove ahead to a little town called La Cote-St-Andre which was on the course for Stage 18 to get an idea of the peloton in full flight. Once again, I managed to screw that up, but I did get a video of the two leaders some minutes ahead of the peloton.
(copied from video)
Finally, I went up to Paris and kicked around there for a few days. Of course, I went down to Place de la Concorde (well, near there, actually) to see the final stage. I haven't seen much about it other than to see that Steegmans won the stage, and it appears to me from this photo he had a couple of leadout men in the last km.
Seriously, you've got to go at some point in your life if you're a fan of this sport.