Lance Armstrong & the Tour de France of Ski: Stage 18, Megeve

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on July 22, 2009 10:35 am

The inferno of burning legs and lungs continued through the second-to-last mountain stage of the Tour de France.  Alberto Contador continued to show that this 96th incarnation of the Tour de France is not about Lance Armstrong, but about the Spaniard securing his own second tour win.  Stage 17 saw some serious drama brought on by the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank from Luxembourg. 

The Alps are brutal, and the Schleck brothers picked the most brutal time to launch an attack.  Contador was able to hang, Armstrong was not.  Franch Schleck finished first, followed by Contador, who was followed by Andy Schleck.  It was a daring attempt by the Schlecks to wrestle the yellow jersey away, but in the end Cantador showed he is indeed the man of the Astana team and the man of this tour.  Andy Schleck moves into second place, 2:26 off the lead, and his brother Frank Schleck moves into third place 3:25 behind Contador.  Armstrong drops to fourth.

Up next, Stage 18, an individual time trial around Lac d’Annecy and a chance to check out one of the most famous ski resorts in the French Alps, Megève.

Tour de France of Ski: Stage 18, Megève

The genesis of Megève starts with a giant in family names, Rothschild.  Looking for a next “it” spot, the Rothschild ditched the Swiss resort of St. Moritz and began spending their winter vacations in Megève in the 1910s.  Yes, the Rothschilds made their name in banking, but its their foray into wine makes us wine lovers bow in gratitude.  Ah, ponder the 1959 Lafite Rothschild.  I cry in typing your name.

Back to Megève, the resort is actually a collection of six ski areas: Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Combloux, La Giettaz, Les Contamines-Montjoie, Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce, and Megève itself.

The mountain is so expansive that the phrase “something for everyone” definitely holds true.  The resort has 37 restaurants on the mountain alone, another 91 located nearby.  More than 200 shops are available for maxing out the credit card. 

You can catch snippets of Megève in the 1969 flick starring Robert Redford, Downhill Racer.  Redford’s cocky character was most prophetic in its portrayal of another American racer who would burst on the scene 15 years later, Bill Johnson.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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