This morning started well with a nice breakfast at the gite followed by an equally nice descent into BrianÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â§on. I got to the starting point of the Tour de France well before the action kicked off. The Caravan was all lined up, all the staff enjoying a moment of relaxation before the hectic day ahead. As with the day before the crowds had come well in advance of the action to ensure a place. The action was in two places; the podium where each rider who wished to participate in the day's stage had to sign-in, and the starting line. The starting line was in fact the fictive one, just for the crowds, the one where racing began was a few kilometres away.
Unlike the day before I managed to get some good shots. What really made my morning was snapping Armstrong, something that I didn't have another chance to do after this.
After the riders had left my special Tour de France was over. I was left feeling a little empty, what to do now? The holiday wasn't over, I still had several days left but my prime objective had been achieved. My knees were hurting again, which didn't give me a great sense of desire to continue. But continue I did, after having lunch in BrianÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â§on.
I aimed for Italy in a non direct way. I avoided going over the Col de MontgenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¨ve because I was told that there were a lot of road works on the way up. Where I was aiming for was just on the other side of that col so it was quite a detour. From BrianÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â§on I went up the valley of the PrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©, which was absolutely lovely. At Nevache I went over the col d'Echelle and dropped down into Italy at Bardonecchia. It was pretty much a slog from there to where I stayed the night, in Champlas du Col, on the road to SestriÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¨re. I found a hotel run by a rather dour elderly man and his wife. The hotel was called the Albergo del Centro, which was bit rich as the village had no more than 30 houses. Its 1/2 pension was reasonable value at 55 euros.
Distance - 93km
Time - 5:55
Max Altitude - 1778m
Tot. Ascent - 1437m
Col de lÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢Echelle ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 1766m