France From Inside Cycling and Wine Tours France

Cycling, Wine and Cultural Tours in the Dordogne, Pyrenees and Southwest of France.

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Chateau de Pitray
Chateau de Pitray

Friday, August 3rd, was the 39th annual Criterium de Castillon professional bike race ... not such a serious race since it is fixed but fun to attend nonetheless. The VIP lunch was at Chateau Pitray again, and attending were some of the pro riders. We had riders from the Europe Car team (Voeckler) and the Gold Medallist of the 2012 Road Race (Vinokorov).

Vinokorov goes through the motions oh having his photo taken. Note the sponsorship on the his cap!

Vinokorov Crit 2012

Harsh, the camera focused on the wrist watch in the lower right corner.

Criterium Castillon 2012

The VIP lunch, and a picture of Voeckler from last year's criterium win, sprinting in the rain squall. This year the weather was favourable.

Miss Velo 2012

New for this year was the selection of "Miss Velo," with all the contestants under the height of 5' 10'', an effort to claim that beauty has no height requirements ... those are their words not mine. The woman in black won. You were dying to know the result?

Miss Elegance, Miss Aquitaine and Miss Perigord watch the proceedings from their high posts of 5' 11' and taller.' Miss Perigord is tapping her foot, a sure sign of? ... I'll let you make the call.

A good lunch with wine and la bonne cuisine Francaise might make one forget about Miss Elegance, Aquitaine ... especially when you are dying of hunger.

At my table and to my right was the Directeur Sportive for Europcar and the Europcar Japanese rider Arashiro and his girlfriend. They were all very talkative and friendly. Arashiro spoke excellent French.

Voeckler signs autographs during lunch and between glasses of wine.

2nd in the 2012 Tour de France Allan Reeves ... I mean Christopher Froome. I told him that Chateau Pitray is "my house" so obviously he wanted to take a picture with me. Christopher Froome won this year's criterium. I suppose that 2nd in the TDF trumps the Maillot a Poids and the 2012 Road Race Gold medallist. To tell you the truth I was unable to guess the order of priority.

And the race begins ... the riders discuss and review the script for the day.

The backside of the course.

Vino on an odd colored bike ... nasty paint job.

Voeckler in the Maillot a Poids.

Arashiro taking it easy. He told me that the mountains in the TDF were brutal and that he also enjoyed the Pyrenees more so than the Alps.

At the beginning of the climb.

Up the 1 mile climb at least 25 times - I did not count - and after a lunch with wine, it can get tiring.

Now make it look authentic but don't out sprint me at the finish ... how is their acting?

A list of the riders who competed in the Criterium.

This is la France so I have to leave you with a picture of desert.