For just the second time in nine years of following The Tour encompassing over 170 stages I failed to witness a stage finish either on the giant screen at the finish line or on a television set in a bar or elsewhere. Andrew and I gave it a good effort yesterday stopping in five bars in two villages and peering in the windows of four RVs parked along the stage six route.
We didn't give seeing the finish as high priority as normal as it was more important to press an extra hour down the next day's route than lingering in the stage start in Epernay at one of its many bars. It was a flat stage promising a sprint finish that we could visualize without having to see it as much as we'd like to. Having Andrews iPhone with Internet access whenever we wished also meant we wouldn't have to go to sleep in suspense as to the day's results. When we took a rest break at six pm in a bus shelter to protect us from the rain Andrew dug out his palm-sized wonder and commented, "The Ziploc bag sure was a great invention."
He gave his mail a quick glance first and said, " A friend says it was a great finish with the breakaway just getting caught."
Then he went to his Australian tour tracker site to learn the German Greipel won for the second day in a row, just as we seen sitting in a bar at St Quentin 24 hours before, where he won today.
Sitting on the concrete floor of a bus shelter with the rain pouring down outside eating cheese sandwiches wasn't the most glamorous of places to learn who had won that day's stage, but we knew we were in France when an elderly lady walked past with her evening baguette under her arm.