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Viewing 2010 TDF

Oct 18, 2009
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Last minute planning for a trip to France this summer.

We were hoping to view the Tourmalet stage. I realise we are a bit late to get accommodation up the mountain. We have never been to the TDF before so not too sure how it all works on the day.

Is it possible to camp on the mountain the night before? How early would be have to get there to scope a spot? If we can't camp what are the ways of atleast getting half way up the climb and how early would we have to be there?

Sorry about all the questions.


Feb 14, 2010
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The good news is there are two Tourmalet stages. On stage 16 they climb it in the middle of the stage, then there's a rest day, then they use the climb for a mountain finish. I've got no personal experience, but from race commentary it seems that for the choice spots on the climbs, people can camp days in advance to save the spot. (That's one of the reasons I was so impressed the first time I watched the Giro online. Instead of all the camper vans, there were a bunch of fit cyclists who rode their bikes up the climb before the caravan arrived). If money is available, you might want to heck into some of the tour companies that offer services during the race. Have a great trip - it should be a really fun race.
I saw a couple of stages of the TDF 09, the finish in Bourg Saint Maurice, and the Annecy TT. I took a train from Annecy to Bourg Saint Maurice via Chambery on race day, and I cycled from Annecy to the Cote de Bluffy to watch the TT (highly recommended).

If you are going up to a mountain stage be aware that the roads will be closed the day of the race. You MUST drive up the day before, and probably for the Tourmalet finish you should be at least two days early to have hope of finding a place. The Tourmalet might be less insane the day the race passes over and continues, IMO. As another poster mentioned, cycling to access good viewing places is possible early in the day of the race if you are fit. I believe you can camp on the mountain, but I would expect that they may close access to vehicles earlier than the day before -- basically once it gets too crowded they'll close the road. I seem to remember for the Ventoux last year the police closed the road up very early due to the number of people, but don't quote me on that.

Enjoy your trip and go see the ITT in Bordeaux if you can.
I spent one week during the Pyrenees stages last year. It was my first time seeing the Tour and I´m returning again this year. I booked a hotel in Lourdes and road my bike from there. There are many B&Bs in the region, but you´ll have to move fast to find something. You may have to stay further away as it´s pretty booked up by now.

My guess is to get up the Tormalet for the Pau-Tormalet stage finish, you´ll have to go up the day before or two days before if by car. Sure you can camp, but unless you´re near the mid-mountain bar, you´ll be pretty much stuck there unless the race is over. I would suggest either hiking or riding up early the day of the race. That´s what I´m planning to do. Also even by bike, you have to get there 3-4 hours before the race entourage or the police won´t let you through. Last year I was about 2 hrs early and they wouldn´t let me up and I was on my bike.

Whatever the difficulties and hassles, it is absolutely worth the trip. It´s just an amazing experience and if you´re riding, even better. One huge fiesta all along the stage route, not just on the mtn.

Good luck.