Will Frischkorn’s Tour de France diary, stage 17

That was a day; long, hard and completely covered by some amazing fans. The Alpe was what it is built up to be: crazy. As far as the climb itself goes, it's hard, but was the easiest of the day by far. The fans however ... well, that's a whole other story. The drunk Dutch corner; the unruly Basque section; the crazy Germans; the Frenchies that always yell "ce n'est pas loin" no matter how long you have to go, and seemingly always cheer for the French rider who happens to be the most annoying at the time.

By Will Frischkorn

The Dutch Corner on L'Alpe d'Huez.

The Dutch Corner on L’Alpe d’Huez.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

That was a day; long, hard and completely covered by some amazing fans.

The Alpe was what it is built up to be: crazy. As far as the climb itself goes, it’s hard, but was the easiest of the day by far. The fans however … well, that’s a whole other story. The drunk Dutch corner; the unruly Basque section; the crazy Germans; the Frenchies that always yell “ce n’est pas loin” no matter how long you have to go, and seemingly always cheer for the French rider who happens to be the most annoying at the time.

A quality crew of Americans turned out for us, thanks!!! But the Aussies win for sure in the number of fans-per-rider in the race competition. They are everywhere! And if you thought that Americans are a patriotic bunch we have NOTHING on the crew from Down Under. Flags, shirts, blow up kangaroos, foam hands, painted vans…they’ve got it all, and they know how to yell too. Loud. The All Blacks do pretty well for our lone Kiwi, but the Norwegians do better for Thor.

There were people our here that you could tell, both by appearance – and smell – that had been camped out for days. Apparently the parties the night before are insane. One of the photo guys that came up the mountain last night said he thought they were going to flip his car. Fortunately today the police have a good handle on things. Barriers get pushed in, but we always have at least a lane to work with.

Time to flip over here on the massage table, so this is going to have to get cut a bit short.

A couple of open days still to go before Saturday’s TT and anything can happen out there.

It’s not over just yet.