The French stars were out in full force today along Av Jean Jaures in Nîmes, with the 2nd stage of Etoile de Bessèges making its traditional visit to my town. John and I went down and walked around like a couple of fan boys, gawking at bikes and the general lack of fat on nearly everyone around us. Like Bryan Coquard, winner of Stage One’s sprint (and today as well, it turns out), and one of the leaders of Europcar’s most recent evolution – Direct Energie.
We also got up-close (but not very personal) with Thibault Pinot, one of my favorite French riders.
John found out before coming down that this race had exactly ONE American rider, so naturally he scoped him out and yelled ‘Larry!’ as Larry Warbasse was lining up to race. He was kind enough to wheel over to us and chat with a fellow Mid-Westerner for a bit.
And then there was Thomas Voeckler, who always seems to be doing something different; this time fiddling endlessly with his front brakes and wheel (although not making any faces, I’m sorry to report).
And finally, I got my own countryman, Canadian Antoine Duchesne, who worked hard for the guy up top today, it appears.
The Etoile de Bessèges continues in the area till Sunday, when you can expect another update, if I survive my own race in the morning.