Saturday, 13 March 2010

Tour de France 2010

Cycle-racing in France is, like in Belgium and the Netherlands, a big thing. As soon as there is talk of a cycling event, no matter how big or small, they are omni-present; men, and sometimes women, dressed in brightly-coloured lycra, bent over their handle bars, whereby the first guy often shouts out loud and inarticulate words, or raise a hand or an arm to warn the crowd behind him for a pothole in the road, a walker, a parked car, or an aged person crossing the road.
And events there are plenty in France. In June, when the Tour de France fever hits France once again, many cyclists throughout the country start their own modest Tour de Village, Tour de Département, Tour de Région or even Tour d’Environnement. And each of these lycra-clad people has his own hero to project himself onto: Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich, Indurain, LeMond, or for the older ones Hinault, Mercx, Anquetil, Bahamontes...
Also Cormatin is not spared this ordeal. Last year, 2009, the Route de Saône-et-Loire (a race of four stages) passed through Cormatin. Hours before hand the roads were closed, in order to ensure free passage for the breakaway or for the peloton thus reducing the chance of nasty accidents. But this race is nothing compared to the real French classic, the Tour de France.
In 2006 the Tour did not (yet) pass through Cormatin, however the finish of the eighteenth stage was in Mâcon. Reason for some of our fanatic cycling fans to get on their bikes and cycle to Mâcon to experience the spectacle. They have been regular returnees to our campsite ever since! The next day the Tour continued starting in Le Creusot and finishing this time trial in Montceau-les-Mines. No doubt the cyclists were brought to Le Creusot by bus or train.
In 2007 the sixth stage (between Semur-en-Auxois and Bourg-en-Bresse, approx. 200 km) passed throug our village, Cormatin. From well before lunch until approx. 17h00 quite a number of roads were closed, amongst them the main road D981 from Cluny direction Givry vv., thus making space for the passing of the caravan followed by the cyclists. The circus certainly was in full swing; an endless row of hooting cars “decorated” with adverts, driving through the village at neck breaking speed, in the meantime throwing promotion material into the crowd; hundreds of spectators of whom several threw themselves almost in front of the cars in order to obtain that wonderful cardboard sunshade....
And then finally the climax, a coloured band travelling so fast that the faces of the racers were no more than a vague blur. That particular year we had quite a few campers on the site who had chosen to stay with us especially for this occasion. A couple of them were very keen to see an intermediate sprint at Brancion. Unfortunately they never made it, partially because of road closures and partially because they did not have a detailed enough map to avoid the main roads....
In 2010 anothe stage starts nearby Cormatin. The seventh stage starts on Saturday 10 July 2010 from Tournus (25 km) for a stage of 161 km to Station les Rousses. We are really curious which of our cycling die-hards will be staying with us again!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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