Anyway, back to Lorient. Once the heavens opened up, I decided €10 was a worthwhile investment in a poncho. Especially, given the umbrella was in the car (“it’s not going to rain”), and we were wearing summer clothing – much like everyone else. Admittedly, we weren’t at the front of the railing, but good enough to have a view of the cyclists arriving to sign on. However, those in front of us did have a jacket and an umbrella, but didn’t posses the ability to stand in persistent rain, and decided it was all too much, and left. Ah victory was ours! We were now on the front railing – perfect opportunity for photos, even if the rain continued.
Much like the Tour Down Under there was the traditional commentator (25 years going strong in the role), talking about the local town, the route and the entertainment. The town band arrived…. went on the stage but the rain prevented them from actually playing. The TV interviewers and commentators who spent time setting up earlier, packed up – all too much rain for them to persist. However we remained – given the advantage point we weren’t going to let a little rain move us.
About an hour after it started raining, the cyclists began to arrive. They rode up, leaned their bike against the railings, walked up the stairs, and signed on. The commentator called out their name and any significant races they had won. This was sometimes difficult to understand given the French accent. Once signed on after shaking the hand of local official, they proceeded down the stairs got on their bike, grabbed a powerade bar, and rode to the starting area.
Standing there, in the pouring rain, watching the “who’s who” of pro cycling in one spot was quite amazing. Seeing Contador, the Schleck brothers, and Evans, was absolutely fantastic. There were so many cyclists in the space of 20 minutes…. It was hard to keep up with who had arrived, but despite the rain, we continued to take photos.
Within 20 minutes, the cyclists were all signed on, the presentation was over and we had 15 minutes until the start. Still feeling the buzz from the presentation we thought walking along the neutralized section would provide a good advantage as the cyclists rode by. However, it started to rain again, and as we were walking past the start, there appeared to be plenty of room. We took a position, took more photographs until they rode off.
Ah…. It was a fantastic experience, despite the rain.