Stage 12
Saint- Galmier
July 16th
Today was our last day of race viewing, but it was limited to the stage start in St. Galmier, a small town a short distance north of St. Etienne.  Another guy on the trip and I decided that we would try to walk into the Village Départ to mix it in with the riders and try to get some autographs.   It took us about an hour but we were able to walk in with the family of one of the Spanish riders.  Luckily the gendarmes didn't notice that we had no TDF credentials.  

We hung out at the USPS vehicles, talking to some of the riders.   Eddy Mercxz was there and I was able to obtain his autograph.   It seemed like the entire press corps was camped out next to a USPS trailer containing Lance Armstrong.   There was some bad press regarding unsubstantiated drug use by Lance that was in l'Equipe the previous day.   Lance exited the trailer and was besieged by this crowd of the media and autograph seekers.  I was able to get his autograph on a Cycle Sport magazine cover.  

After all the commotion, we watched the riders start their stage to Albi in the Massiff Central mountains.  It was to be a difficult transition stage between the Alps and Pyrenees.    We boarded the bus and set out for a long eight hours or so to Reims.

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