We got our exercise done in the morning and then headed up to town midday, parking in my work garage and then walking up towards the festivities. There was a little debate on where we should watch but we soon decided to park ourselves about halfway up the State Street hill where we could sit on the curb in the shade. There weren't that many spectators at first but as the race wore on, more and more people filled in around us and it looked to be packed up at the top closer to the finish line.
Here they come, first climb up the hill
After a while, a group of four girls (teens to early 20s) and one boy showed up and sat behind/around us. The girls all seemed to be girlfriends and/or sisters of girlfriends of Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling racers and the one guy was actually one of the riders: Jose Alfredo Rodriguez Victoria, a 20 year old sprinter who had podiumed on Stage 4 and then DNFed once the sprint stages were over. The conversations we overheard were hilarious and there was much shrieking when the Elevate riders came through with the peloton.
Peloton still all together
Although it wasn't as hot as it had been, this final stage was still brutal. On the first lap, the cyclists charge up that hill, and then get slower and slower as the race goes on. The peloton splinters and riders start getting dropped off the back. For the most part, there was a group of about 10-18 riders consistently out front, with everyone else just trying to hang on together. On the final climb, everyone who was able to picked up the pace once more and pushed on to the finish line.
The very last rider on the very last climb
on the very last stage of the 2017 ToU
H and I debated trying to make our way up there for the finish and the podium presentations, but ultimately decided to stay put, continuing to applaud as the final cyclists dragged themselves up that hill, minutes after the race was won. After that, it just seemed reasonable that we stop by the Beer Bar on our way back to the truck, so that's what we did.
Stage podium: Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini); Brent Bookwalter (BMC); Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare). General Classification: Rob Britton (Rally Cycling); Gavin Mannion; Serghei Tvetcov (JellyBelly). Team: BMC Racing; United HealthCare; Caja Rural. Sprinter: Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare). KOM: Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly). Best Young Rider: Neilson Powless (Axeon). Most Aggressive: Manuel Senni (BMC). Fan Favorite: Pier-Andre Cote (Silber).