There was no room at the inn for Bruce. I arrived at my hotel in St. Girons (Hostelier La Rotonde so you can avoid it) and the hotel manager told me that hotel was full. The conversation went something like this:
Bruce: I have a reservation.
Hotel Manager: The hotel is full.
Bruce: Yes, but I have a reservation.
HM: there are no rooms available in this town because the Tour de France is coming.
Bruce (holding a paper copy of all correspondence with the hotel): look at these emails. They say
I have a reservation. Less than two weeks ago, I re-sent you an email to confirm my reservation and
you replied that I had a reservation!
HM: I am sorry there are no rooms at this hotel.
Bruce: But you say here in this email that I have a reservation.
HM: I am sorry there are no rooms in this hotel!
BTW, this is a pretty common occurence in France, especially during the Tour (which is why I confirmed it). If a hotel can rent a room for a longer period than one night, they conveniently lose your reservation so they can make more money.
Anyway, I ended up in the little town of Oust which has one hotel and it had rooms because nobody stays there unless they can't get a hotel room in St.Girons. Hey, but the silver lining is that I met Iniki, a 16-year-old bike racer from Pamplona--you know, where they run the bulls. He was so full of enthusiasm and energy, he put me back in a good mood.
As two race aficionados do, we chatted about pro racing. Iniki was sorry for Valverde's poor ride in the time trial in Albi and felt Vino's ride was valiant; fighting back as he did from such a bad crash. Iniki was also impressed with Evans and thinks a podium is possible for him. We both agreed that Discovery Channel was exceptionally strong with three riders capable of doing well. Iniki told me that he had just finished a four-day stage race around Pamplona. He knew, compared to the Tour that it was nothing special, but it was his first-ever stage race and he felt he finished well.
Finally, it was time for Iniki to mount his Cervelo and head for the hills. I hope he enjoyed his ride up Plateau de Beille with all fanfare of a stage finish and that his enthusiasm for the sport never weakens!
Now for some race commentary:
What a great stage today! The attacking on the final climb was non-stop and it looked like, at one time or another, all the favorites threw at least one punch. It was great to see Levi attack; in all the years he has ridden the Tour, this is the first time I can remember seeing him go up the road. The French press were dying to know if Rasmussen gave the stage to Contador and the Chicken replied that they both wanted to win. There were no gifts given. Also, Rasmussen related his
discussion with Contador one kilometer from the finish. The Rabobank rider told Contador rather than play around for the stage finish, it was in their best interest to take as much time out of Cadel Evans as possible as he looks to be better in the TTs. You just gotta love all the strategy!
What a great Tour. I hope everyone is enjoying it as much as I am. Are you?