Lance Armstrong (center) finished a respectable 3rd in The Tour, but is now coming under considerable criticism for his arrogant behavior and non support of teammate/race winner Alberto Contador.

It was a crush behind the barricades as the final stage of the Tour de France made eight laps around the Arc de Triumpe down the Champs Elysees. What a sight! IT WAS CROWDED. And many were drunk. Unfortunately I was not one of them. I’ll know better next time…

Where in world is Suzanne Salvo? I’m in this picture at the spot we watched the race. I’m wearing a brown blouse and black pants and big sunglasses. Double check to enlarge photo and find me.

The bikers may appear fierce, but there was more ‘attacking’ happening on the other side of the barricades.

Chris and I arrived early enough to get a front row spot on the barricade. I have the bruises to prove we held off multiple 'attacks' from fans 6 rows deep.

The Official 2009 Winner of the Tour de France is Spaniard Alberto Contador, (winner in 2007, too), riding for Astana along with teammate Lance Armstrong (who finished a respectable third). At only 26, Contador is capable of beating Armstrong’s record 7 Le Tour victories. I guess that level of competition and testosterone explains the bad feelings between the two champions. CNN story: I will never admire Armstrong.
The caravan/sponsor parade begins with the iconic big yellow guy. The racers arrive about 45 minutes behind.

Some people will do anything to stay near the race action.

Interesting Tour Factoids:
  • The second Tour de France, in 1904, saw riders desperate to win cheat by using trains and cars. Some rabid fans placed nails in the road in front of rival riders.
  • In early Tours, riders were known to stop for a cigarette and whiskey in a pub to refresh themselves during a stage.
  • The only time the Tour has been cancelled was due to the World Wars.
  • In 1975, Belgian rider Eddy "The Cannibal" Merckx (considered by many to be the greatest cyclist of all time) was attacked and beaten by a French fan of a rival rider. Merckx remounted his bike and went on to finish the stage.

Contador is THE MAN! He has now won The Tour twice, plus the other Grand Tour Races - The Italian Giro and The Spanish Vuelta

What a great experience! I may even get out my old bike, the one with coaster brakes and only one gear...