After stage 16, Lance Armstrong remains in second place behind teammate and tour leader Alberto Contador of Spain. Armstrong remains 1 minute 37 seconds back after mounting a most impressive comeback of sheer heart on the route from Martigny to Bour-Saint-Maurice. Armstrong fell back of Contador and other tour leaders by as much as 35 seconds. He probably will not win his 8th Tour de France, but the comeback by the 37-year-old during stage 16, catching back up to Contador, was as impressive as any of his seven tour wins.
Now the riders head to the town of ultimate beauty, Annecy. You don’t live there now, but if ever any of us would be so lucky to call Annecy home, well, you’d be pretty happy. The town of art and history is called the Venice of the Alps. Annecy is also France’s nomination to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Tour de France of Ski: Stage 18, Annecy
There’s a reason the 60% of all World Cup alpine events in France are hosted by Annecy. Le Grand Bornand, Manigold, La Clusaz, Megeve, les Saisies are all ski areas within 20 miles of Annecy.
Le Grand Bornand. This mountain village and ski resort are named for the river that runs through it. The Bouchet Valley that the town resides in is a favorite among cross-country skiers. Le Grand-Bornand proudly holds the environmental award of “Station verte de vacances,” translated as “green holiday resort.”
Manigold. A great family skiing spot, the beautiful village of Manigold is worth a visit anytime of the season with its beautiful chapels and wooden chalets. Mostly beginner/intermediate terrain, as Manigold is known for its great children’s ski school.
La Clusaz. Located in the heart of the Aravis Mountains, La Clusaz is a traditional, cozy French village. There’s much advanced terrain to be found on the mountain (L’Etale), and a great selection of wine, cheese, and pastries off the mountain. La Clusaz is one of the most picturesque villages in all of France (pictured above).
Megeve. The French answer to St. Moritz, Megeve was on of the first ski resorts created. Royalty from all over Europe began visiting Megeve in the early 1920s. Fantastically chic, Megeve has a wide selection of incredible restaurants and nightclubs. Although if you’re not royalty, you might have some problems getting into those nightclubs.
Les Saisies. All cross-country and biathlon events in the 1992 Winter Olympics were held here. The French version of a hidden gem resort, Les Saisies is much less expensive than other French ski resorts, and lift lines are non-existant. A French ski resort experience away from the tourists, Les Saisies is perfect for a family ski trip if you’re fluent… In French, not English, Mr. World Travler.