It was the return to the Puy de Dôme 35 years later, and the expectation, maximum. A protected volcanic area, which was one of Christian Prudhomme’s great challenges since he came to direct the race in 2007. Many years later he succeeded, favored by a change in the presidency of this Department, with a more open attitude to welcome the race. From early in the morning the gutters were full of people until there were four kilometers to go. Since then, the passage of spectators has been prohibited and limitations of all kinds. Something that, although it removes the essence of cycling, was mandatory to comply with by law.
The people of Press and organization only had one way to go up: through a funicular that reaches the top and that was released in 2012. Of each medium, only one photographer and one editor could be part of the wagon. There were six trips made by this transport system (8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 13:00 and 14:00).
In this section, only Gendarmes (French police officers) were observed along the way, specially located on the roads to prevent people from arriving from any corner. As for cars, only the following could go up: 22 directors (that is, one per team), four commissioners, three race management, two Shimano (for breakdowns), one doctor, one ambulance and the broom car which closed the race. Regarding motorcycles, of all kinds (commissioners, TV, breakdowns, doctors…) the figure did not reach 30.
The ascent, with only one lane in its hardest section, left behind the city of Clermont-Ferrand, where its cathedral was impressive, the one that stands out in an iconic photo of Bahamontes in 1959. Upon reaching the Puy de Dome, great part of those present descended to observe the area and the surroundings. At 400 meters, once the last train had passed, the funicular track was covered for the passage of the race on a day when Movistar was left with honey on its lips. “By little”, they lamented at the finish line.
At the end, the runners had to go down 3.5 kilometers until they reached the bus area. After putting on warm clothes and supplies, each runner hung a warning whistle and went down the way they came up. The idea is to take less than 35 years to return.