Branson was again the stage with the Time Trial Course. The tour organisers wanted us to keep the same course because it went over so well the year before. Before the TT we had the Trike Race again but, instead of celebrities, we used mascots from around the area. After the trike race I was off to see if I could find Debbie at the Columbia bus. When I got to the parking lot I couldn't find her so I walked around and saw Rory Sutherland and decided to get his picture. He writes a witty blog when he races and I always make sure I read the new posts to get a chuckle. After that I tried to find the Liquigas bus. To my disappointment I couldn't find it. I was a bit confused because I thought they would all be in the same parking lot. Eventually I saw a few riders and then saw 2 men with team shirts talking to the food people. I decided to ask them where the Liquigas riders were since one of them spoke English. He told me that they were on the other end, across the street, and that it wasn't that far of a walk. I showed him the picture that I had taken the night before (I had it printed up that morning....loooove 1 hour photo) and asked him if he thought the guys would mind signing it. He said that they would love it and that I should go over there. After that he rode off on his BIKE. Ummm, yeah, not far with a bike but walking? With my short legs it took a little while. Hehe.
Eventually I got over there and to my dismay, there was only one other team over there. Now, normally I'm fine with that but, well.....now I felt like a stalker. Because it was so out of the way there were only a few other people over there. I couldn't try and blend in with the other crazy fans because I was pretty much the only one. AWKWARD!!! OH yeah, and I don't speak Italian as I stated earlier. Well, I saw the guy that told me how to get there and he told me that he would translate for me and would help me out. His name was Rory and he was great. When I got there Jacopo and Da Ros were warming up for their ride while the rest of the team was still in the hotel. I got their signatures and then sat around waiting for the other guys to show up. So....for a little while I was the dork sitting there, like a stalker, waiting for photos and autographs. *sigh* Yep, dorkdom at its best. The Team guys were nice and offered me a chair and something to drink while I waited. Now, normally I am the most talkative person in the world. I will talk to anyone. Those of you that know me...stop laughing. Shhhhhh. SO...the talkative person was actually silent and a little shy since there were only a few people that spoke English and I didn't want to bother them. Eventually the rest of the team made it out there and I was able to get them to sign the pic. I also got to take a pic with Chicchi. YAY...the Man is a great sprinter. He had come in 3rd in the first two stages of the Tour and was currently in second place. Anyway, he warmed up for a little while and then got ready for the ride. Meanwhile, at one point, Rory left to get a Mountain Dew so...there I was, alone with Chicchi and no talking. Talk about Awkward. I would have loved to talk to him but... there was that whole language barrier thing. I also didn't want to take a lot of pics because it was a bit obvious since I was the only one there. I think I need to learn a bit of Italian if I want to hang out with Liquigas again. LOL Eventually Chicchi got ready to leave for his ride and Rory gave me a lift so that I didn't have to walk. He also invited me to sit in the team car behind Chicchi. WHAT? So....I was really tempted and would have loved to go but I get really carsick. The ride would have been on windy roads for around 45 minutes and then back down. I didn't think it would be nice of my to projectile over Rory's head as he drove. Seriously....really bummed that I missed out on that one. Chance of a lifetime and I blew it. I saw Chicchi as he was riding up to the ramp for his ride. He saw me and aimed his bike at me and he rode by and that was that. About 15 minutes later I watched him ride his TT and wished I was in that car. =(
I watched the rest of the Tour online on Justin.tv. They had a great feed and chatroom with alot of the same people each day. It was our own little online cycling fandom. I had a great time chatting and watching with them. The last day of the tour was GREAT! There was going to be a sprint finish and I was still pulling for Chicchi to win a stage. I had typed his name in bold letters when everyone was "pulling" for the rider they wanted to win. I was screaming and yelling when he crossed that line ahead of Cavendish. WAHOOOO AMAZING!!! Everyone figured Cavendish had it again since the guy is so stinking fast. So, when Chicchi crossed the line I was thrilled and told them that I called it. LOL That man has quads and those quads beat Cav!!! Also, Roman finished with the White jersey. What a great way to end the Tour.
I hope you enjoy the pics that I have in the slideshow. Some of the pics were taken by my new friend, Amy. She is from the boards and is friends with Debbie. Great gal! She was taking pics and writing a blog about the Tour. Thanks Amy!