Velogal's Blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How cool is it that Paolo wins Stage 17? I didn’t go to the finish (more on this later), so I was at the Ibis Hotel in Toulouse watching the race. I hope that OLN showed what I saw on France2/3, when Paolo went to the team bus. He was wildly hugging Erwin and Serge (Lance’s security guys), and Ryszard (one of the soigneurs) and Mark Higgins (Lance’s business agent). Now it was Paolo’s turn to look like a little kid who’d just got the best Christmas present in the world. He was just beaming…

Well, kiddies, I did get into deep doo-doo today, and it was totally because I was a space-case. No, not Customs again, but rather a more powerful entity in France! Yikes - I messed up with none other than ASO, Amaury Sports Organization – the Gods of the Tour de France! The people who hold my Tour Fate in their hands!

Ai, yi, yi and Mon Dieu! Somehow I was zee leetle Podium Girl Gone Bad this morning. Oui. C’est vrai! I parked my little Peugeot with the blue stickers just where they told me to park. I backed in and up on the sidewalk in the Avant area. That parking is for vehicles that are following the Caravane Publicitaire, and leaving before the race starts. Well, I didn’t quite realize that I was parking on the race course.

I boogied on over to the Village Depart and fueled up with Grand Mere leaded, ate way more little melon slices than is considered polite as a guest at the Village, topped it off with some yummy Brie, and wandered around visiting. Then the Discovery guys showed up, like the Lance Fan’s Pied Pipers of the Tour, so I followed right along in the mob. I ended up in the midst of a zillion folks, and caught the wheel of Serge, the Security guy. Well, I actually grabbed his sleeve, and he towed me, stumbling and tripping on feet, to the front of the autograph-hungry crowd.

I stood at the little opening where the riders went out and happily took photos of all the guys, Lance and Sheryl. I just had a great time, and suddenly the racers had gone and the bus was pulling out, I started walking down to my car. To my horror, I saw that metal barricades had sprung up all along the sides of the road, and there was the little grey Peugeot, parked right on the race course! Totally alone, helpless and embarrassed, AND minus the blue press stickers, there sat my car. Oh Boy – Motel Workers Heaven strikes again….

Yes, when you screw up, the Officials of the ASO rip your precious press stickers, swiftly and punitively, from your vehicle. (The photo above is a before photo) I was punished, relegated, sanctioned, penalized, chastised, reprimanded, defrocked and flogged. Naw – not the last two… But, you get the picture.

Bummer – there goes my first-class parking at the Departs and Arrivees. But, I also know if you beg, grovel and apologize profusely, the ASO may give you another sticker. Problem is, how to get to the headquarters (called the Permanence) to pay your penance, without the damn stickers on your car…

So this evening, I called a couple of photog friends of mine, who were at the Media Center, right beside the Permanence. They agreed to plead my case with the Lords of the Stickers, and, with their help, both curses and blessings were bestowed upon me. I do receive another sticker, but I have been relegated to Orange Sticker status, and have had my Blue Sticker status removed. My privilege of driving on the course has been lost. Oh, zat naughty leetle PGGB!

What they don’t know is that I didn’t plan to drive on the racecourse anymore, anyway! Besides, grey and orange go really well together….


  • Tsk tsk tsk, baaaaaaad!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:20 PM  

  • Hi Sammarye,

    Just to put your mind at ease, those of us sitting back in the USA and watching the Tour on OLN saw the same thing as you, Paolo getting lots of hugs. Thanks for your daily blogs, helps to make me feel a part of the Tour.


    By Anonymous Joan, At 1:28 PM  

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