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Race Report: TdF Stage 17 (Pau - Tourmalet)

So, I thought I had gotten a prime spot for watching the finish of the stage 75 meters from the finish.  I'd be able to see the riders come around the corner at just over 100 meters to go and then watch them all the way up to the finish line.  Then that dang cloud rolled in. 

Anyway, first, Contador & Schleck came by.

Because the cloud prevented me from seeing the finish (and because I wasn't paying attention to the announcer), I didn't find out who won for several minutes...

Anyway, next was Rodriguez, Hesjedal, SamSan, Menchov, & Gesink.

One nice thing about being at the stage finish is seeing the podiums after.  FIrst came Andy.

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When Contador came out, I only heard one boo, but listening to the video, I think I hear a lot more than just one...

(forgot to zoom on that one...)

Also got a decent shot of Cance

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And of Thor

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I do have to say, I think I preferred the day on the Col du Soulor.  Partially because the weather stunk on the Tourmalet, but I think it had more to do with the barriers on the Tourmalet and the absence of same on Soulor.  On the Soulor (as at Alpe d'Huez a couple years ago), being right there with no barriers, you almost get the feeling you're a part of the race; not a participant in the race, obviously, but sort of like what we call the "12th man" in American football.  By contrast, being behind the barriers, I felt much more distant from the scene even though the riders went by probably less than 10 meters from me.  Of course, on Soulor, they went by probably no more than 1-2 meters from me...  Still a great time though.  Highly recommended.

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