Morzine-Avoriaz: TDF Stage 8 Aussie Gold

After persevering with french commentary on TV for a week, at last, the tour was in town.

I don't know about anyone else, but I could hardly contain my excitement. I couldn't wait to get on my bike and ride the climb before the tour passed through.

And although we were hesitant to dwell on it too much, for fear of jinxing him, we were keenly aware that Cadel Evans was well placed to take the yellow jersey from unlikely tour leader Sylvain Chavanel. He was only 1:25 behind, with thirty seconds on the next best notable contender, Andy Schleck.

It was going to be a good day.

The boys and I set off in plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere on the Col de la Joux Verte. We left from Morzine to ride the tour route up to the ski resort of Avoriaz. As we expected the road was packed with campervans, cars, bikes and cycling fans.

This is what I'd come back for. The vibe was amazing - tens of thousands of people crammed onto 12kms of skinny mountain road. Most of them would have been there for a couple of days reserving their spot and this morning they were ready.

They called out to the cyclists as they passed and I was happy to receive their cheers and good wishes. I wasn't really needing it, the climb was fairly gentle and quite constant.

It's times like this I wished my French was better. I'm sure I'd have great conversations with fellow cyclists as we climbed on days like this. Everyone is happy, everyone is excited at the prospect of the peleton. it's times like these where the bond between cyclists is amplified.

A few ks from the top of the climb we stopped for a beer. Aussies can always find each other overseas. It wasn't long before we were in conversation with a young bloke who was on an extended European holiday with a mate. He was happy to hear our accent, and we traded war stories about the predicaments the language barrier can land you in...

We decided we needed to keep going if were going to watch from the top, so we continued on. At the top of the Col de la Joux Verte is a pub where we stopped for lunch and a beer before settling on the plan of attack for the day.

By this time the Gendamerie were starting to close down the roads to all traffic, so we decided to continue on foot to the finish line at the town of Avoriaz. Here we watched some of the team mechanics at work before finding a TV to watch the coverage of the tour.

We found an air conditioned bar and watched the carnage unfold. We found out that despite Cadel keeping with the group of favourites, he'd crashed early on in the stage. Lance had also crashed, but was faring much worse. He eventually finished more than 10 minutes behind the main contenders.

Meanwhile, Cadel was riding into the yellow jersey. Again, time to regroup and set on a plan of attack. We left the TV in time to get back to an appropriate vantage point to watch the finish.

Then back to the podium to watch Cadel climb the podium to don the leader's yellow jersey.

Yes, it had been a good day.

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