The amazing experience of cycling mountains and watching the Tour de France #TdF2017

It's one of those dreams that cyclists have, particularly after watching the mountain stages of the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta de España.. "One day I'll climb those mountains too!"

That's actually one of the things you can do with cycling, compared to other professional sports we watch.
If you're into cricket, you'll probably never get to play at Lord's. If you like football, you may never get to play at Wembley, but if you're into cycling then the historic roads are there and free for you to have a go and see what it feels like.

The sense of achievement you'll get when you reach the top of an historical mountain pass, is far greater than the effort you have to put in to climb it.
Most of these alpine roads have now detailed sign-posts to give cyclists an idea of what lies ahead..

..such as, distance to the top, altitude and next km average climbing gradient.
Sometimes this can give encouragement, or at other times, mental despair. What I recommend doing is to look down the valley after every switchback, to see how much you've already achieved, rather than how much further you have to go.

Taking in all the stunning scenery as you climb, will help to distract you from the effort, the mind receives positive images, whilst the legs are working hard below.

Knowing that you are starting a climb of around 20km long, try to set a riding pace that you're comfortable with, regardless of what everyone else is doing around you.

In this particular occasion, we road the French Alps to watch two Tour de France 2017 stages, from the beautiful town of Briançon.

..riding north through Serre Chevalier to get up to the Col du Lautaret and Col du Galibier to watch Stage 17.

It's fantastic watching the pro cyclists coming down these winding mountain roads at crazy speeds.

The following day, for Stage 18, we rode our bikes again from Briançon, riding south-east up to the legendary Col d'Izoard, theatre of many cycling battles.

On the way up the Izoard, through the village of Cervières, we noticed that the Team Buses were parked here rather than at the finish area.
The road to the top from this side is very beautiful. It passes through two villages, then enters a Pine forest where it becomes steeper and more winding. That was a great moment to take a breather whilst watching the Caravane du Tour passing by.

Once finally reaching the top, the view is amazing, and the Polka Dot Cap offered by Carrefour was very handy to protect from the strong rays of the sun.

The set up at the top was fantastic, live TV coverage on a big screen on one side, the podium presentation right in front, and the pro cyclists coming up from the climb on the other side.

With French rider, Warren Barguil, winning the stage, the atmosphere was electric, and with the French President Macron being there for the presentation, it was just great for the sport and for the organisation of the Grande Boucle.

Chris Froome arriving soon after, maintained his Yellow Jersey leadership, while below, Fabio Aru didn't have a good day, losing precious time for the overall classification. Anyway, it's been a good tour for the Astana young rider, he's acquired lots of experience, won a stage, wore the Yellow Jersey for a couple of days being the only rider to take it from the shoulders of the very strong Team Sky of Froome.

And it's right to say: "The winner takes it all.." Whether you like it or not (only saying this as we've heard much discord and unpleasant booing along the road or at the presentation), Chris Froome won his 4th Tour de France and so chapeau to him and to the hard work of his team mates. Landa and Nieve have played a very big role in leading and protecting their captain all along this 2017 Tour de France. Great Team Effort, Bravo!

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Get Out More it's
FABULOUS OUTDOORS
Fabrizio Malisan

More IMAGES on here: Cycling Images on Flickr

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