On the Hautacam climb, UCL riders and PVS mountain bikers joined forces to hold a refreshment stand near the red flame.
Many of them got into their cars, camper vans, on foot and by bike to encourage the riders on the last mountain stage of the Tour de France 2022. To restore and quench the thirst of all these cycling enthusiasts, refreshments were installed all along the climb. Among them, there was one where there was a sacred atmosphere. The last before the finish, very close to the red flame, particularly well placed in a bend, before the final assault. This refreshment bar was run by the 2 cycling clubs in the valley, the Union Cycliste du Lavedan and the mountain bike club Pyrénissime Vélo Sport, all cycling enthusiasts, who had pooled their logistical and human resources to ensure an organization at the height of the event. A large number of volunteers were mobilized in the 2 clubs, and the cooperation proved to be particularly effective. This of course required a lot of logistics, since it was necessary to assemble and install up there, the marquees, the refreshment bar, the generator, the fryer, the planchas, the water tank, the freezers and refrigerators, the stock of foodstuffs, … But all quickly found their place to serve cold drinks, hot drinks, sandwiches, fries, pancakes, … Many people stopped there on Wednesdays and Thursdays to take advantage of the joyful atmosphere that reigned, with music and TV screen to follow the stage. On Wednesday evening, an improvised choir largely contributed to the festive side until late at night, performing Basque and Pyrenean songs. Admittedly, the night was short for the volunteers, but from early morning, they were ready to respond to the numerous requests from the flow of cyclists and pedestrians who came to refresh themselves and refuel while waiting for the runners.
Young people were also mobilized for the event. Before the passage of the publicity caravan, the UCL cadets/juniors climbed the Haucatam as part of Operation Continental. Proudly sporting their Continental gear, the youngsters arrived happy and smiling at the top. A beautiful day for these future champions and a memory they will remember for a long time! Then it was the turn of the youngest UCL cyclists, all in blue and yellow, to cover the last kilometers of the climb and cross the finish line of the Tour de France, like the pros. A great mutual aid and an effective synergy for these two cycling clubs, which should be highlighted and which could well give rise to other experiences of the same kind at future events.