Tour Reload: The 2015 Tour de France will be making it's return to the Alpe d'Huez and like every other time the race has tackled the 21 hair-pin bends, there will be a battle royal. Ed Hood has seen the Tour on the famous climb many a time, so here is his 2011 Alpe d'Huez adventure.
I don’t really like when folks ask me about my trips to continental races; ‘I bet you got plenty drinking done over there,’ or 'all those boys are on drugs, aren’t they?’ I usually just force a smile, nod and change the subject. The Tour 2011 was different; ‘got your Cavendish tattoo done yet?’ or ‘can you explain how that green jersey works?’ and ‘I was really moved when the Australian boy who won dedicated it to his coach (Aldo Sassi) who died.’
Roadside round-up: It was a weird Tour in a lot of ways, odder even than the full-on sensory overload of my first assignment there in 2008. There was so much going on in France that the biggest race in cycling, a national obsession, was temporarily replaced by those other media darlings: a Royal wedding and a football team.
Roadside St.21: First up you have to get there; 350 odd miles from Grenoble to Creteil. We went to the start at Creteil because driving into Paris on Tour day isn't recommended if you want to get there the same day - but the magic creds take you along the parcours, straight to the Place de la Concorde.
Race report: Crйteil isn’t the most prepossessing suburb to start a final Tour de France stage in, but the fans are out in force and the jersey holders are lined up for the start. A moment’s silence for the Norwegian massacre victims is a somber prelude to Australia’s greatest cycling triumph. Cadel Evans is the deserved winner (at last!) of the Tour de France. This is the story of stage 21 …
Roadside St.20: 'Gimme a bike!' says Levi - we're five kilometres into the final time trial of the 2011 Tour de France and at the worst possible place - on a tough climb - Radio Shack's Tour jinx continues... Ed Hood got the chance to follow former Tour podium finisher, Levi Leipheimer in today's time trial around Grenoble. Read on!
Race Report: This is THE decisive day of the 2011 Tour de France and one of the most exciting time trials in any Grand Tour for a long time. History in the making; Cadel Evans rode his heart out to give Australia its first Tour de France win. Voeckler wanted the podium for France, but that was just a little too much. Spain did its best, Contador and Sanchez passed Cunego. A Great Grand Tour!
Roadside St.19: The Spanish guys on the other side of the road are winding up the Luxembourg fans; 'Venga Alberto!' The Schleck guys aren't amused - but the police are. A gust of wind blows the Schleck flag over - is it an omen? From the tiny TV outside the bar we know that Contador has broken clear and is taking time out of the favourites - what a Tour !
It all came down to the mighty Alpe d’Huez today, the last chance in the mountains for the favorites to throw down. Pierre Rolland of Europcar won the day, Voeckler lost the jersey, and the Evans/Contador/Schleck brothers battle raged on the 21 switchbacks. Read on!