OK, this is only peripherally related to travel... but if you've been wacthing the Tour de France, you may have noticed a particular flag that always seems to be flying on the roadside. It has horizontal blue stripes, and a red lion crest. I thought it was the flag of Bruges, but a quick check showed that the Bruges flag has red stripes with a blue lion. It isn't the official national flag of any country, and it isn't a regional flag of France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain or Italy. Anyone know what this particular flag represents?
Ummm... Luxembourg for 2nd placer Andy Schleck? This year my schedule has been such that I haven't been able to see a single stage (not even the one that passed within a mile of my house).
Is it too late to say "Go, Armstrong! Welcome back!"
I've watched every minute of every Stage (I love it!!) but I have no idea. Now I'M curious! And it's never too late to say "Go Lance!!"
Found the answer. It isn't the flag of Luxembourg, but the CIVIL ENSIGN of Luxembourg, cheering on the Schleck brothers. I guess the fans display it instead of the national flag because the flag could be too easily mistaken for the Netherlands.
And you're almost too late to say "Go Lance", because the tour ends tomorrow. Even though he won't win this year, I was impressed by his willingness to assume the role of team player and help Alberto Contadour and Andres Kloden.
Thanks for the answer Tom!
I enjoyed watching the Tour de France especially the mountain stages. The scenery was spectacular. The Alps, castles, towns and the fans were something to see although some of the fans seem to get dangerously close to the riders at times. Contador was amazing and hats off to Lance who came back at age 37 after 4 years to finish 3rd (barring a disaster tomorrow). His may have been the most impressive of all the competitors considering his age and the long absence from the TDF. Also, his return was a big boost to the ratings. Lance and Tom Watson in the Open at Turnberry sure gave the younger competitors a run for their money in European Sports the last two weeks.
Lane, I totally agree with you! Lance is amazing and watching him today was a thrill! He went up Mount Ventoux like it was nothing. I can't wait to see Paris tomorrow and I'm already looking forward to next year's Tour with Lance and his new team. Vive la Lance!
Susan, the end of the race today was quite good. I think the highlight of the whole race for me was on one of the mountain stages where Lance fell way behind the Schleck brothers and Contador and it looked like he was done. He then reached down and found something and showed why he was 7 time champion of the TDF and made a charge and when he passed Frank Schleck the look Schleck gave him seemed to be one of disbelief and admiration. It was as if he said, where in the world did you come from. I think everybody was amazed at that comeback. Saturday's stage up Mont Ventoux was also impressive. It was fun to watch the 2009 TDF.
Only 344 days until the next Tour...
Lane, I totally agree with you...it was so good to see Lance reach deep inside himself and will himself up that hill past Frank. Today was wonderful. The helicopter aerial views of Paris were so fun to watch...almost felt like I was there. Seeing the finish was bittersweet...a good ending with Lance on the podium but tomorrow, no more Tour to watch :( I'm also gonna miss Bob Roll!
And Tom, Yes! 344 days til TDF 2010...I can't wait!
Even less time until the Giro d'Italia (does Versus still televise it?).
Any bets that Lance isn't teamed with Contador next year. Contador is a great racer but clearly isn't a team player (how many times did he attack and hurt only his own team?).
I was really disappointed for Levi Leipheimer.
I agree Brad. As great a rider as Contador is his me first, team second attitude did not endear him to Lance and some of the other team members so I do not think Lance will ask him to be on his new team. Who knows, Lance maybe could have finished second if he had decided to attack a couple of times with Contador but he stayed back with his teammates. Also, Kloden may have finished third but Contador pulled a surprise attack that left him behind to fend for himself. Even Leipheimer criticized Contador for that move. I don't think anyone could have beaten Contador this year though. It would have been something to see Lance going against him in his prime.
Susan,I enjoyed the overhead view yesterday also. Told my wife that it almost made me feel I was back on vacation there. This was the first year I watched the TDF but I really got caught up in it and look forward to next year.
"This was the first year I watched the TDF but I really got caught up in it and look forward to next year." Surprisingly addictive, isn't it? I think the constant beautiful scenery was what first caught my attention. But once you start to understand the competitions for the various jerseys and the strategies (it's not just pedalling as fast as you can, is it?), the sport becomes incredibly addictive to watch.
Lance versus Alberto will be the match to watch next year, with the Schleck brothers and the return of Ivan Basso and Vladimir Vinokorov being the wild cards.
It is addictive, Tom. The scenery is what first caught my eye also and the fact that they were going through places that we traveled heightened my interest. Learning the ins and outs of the race and the strategy was a bonus and now I have another sport to watch. Thank goodness for DVR's and retirement.
Everything you've all said I completely agree with. I got hooked 9 yrs ago with the scenery and then learning all about the sport and the strategy was fascinating. No way will Lance team with Contador next year...Did you see the interview yesterday when Lance was asked if Contador has any weaknesses? Lance said yes, but wouldn't explain-Phil Liggett said he knew exactly what Lance meant...that Lance is so much smarter than Contador strategy-wise and that's Lance's advantage. And, Contador won't have Johann Bruyneel. I think Lance will be in even better shape next year than this year because he'll be training for the Tour from now until then, unlike last year. Tom, your mention of the Giro D'Italia is brilliant...If Versus has it I'll watch for sure. And yes, thank goodness for DVR's!
I read an article today where Lance was talking about his and Contador's future. Lance said, "I'm going left, he's going right." "See you on the start line next year."
It will be something to see.
It sure will be something to see Lane, it'll be very exciting :)
And the Vuelta a Espana is in September! Too bad Versus decided that only grand tours with Lance were worth broadcasting. They used to carry the Giro and and the Vuelta, now it's just summaries on Sundays. You can find them online though. Watch out for Carlos Sastre in the Vuelta...
"Too bad Versus decided that only grand tours with Lance were worth broadcasting." I'll repeat one of my rants I launched a few weeks ago. Look on the Tour website and you'll see that the Tour is available for online streaming in every major media market... except one, guess which one? Also, when I was in Europe two weeks ago, I could watch the Tour on 8 different channels, in any one of 5 different languages. In the US... if your cable provider doesn't offer Versus, you're out of luck (fortunately, mine does, but I've lived in areas where it isn't available). In the free world, the US seems to be the only media market where all these exclusive contracts restrict content to a single distributor.