The spectators were a spectacle. I imagine London or Paris would be much more of a spectacular spectacle, but it was fun to people watch in Limoux.
The young man sitting down taking a break was reporting for a sports talk radio show and showed up on a motorcycle with a driver. This was his eighth year and he was somewhat jaded. He was French but spoke great English. When he saw the Utah plates he began to question us a little about our story. When we mentioned Moab, he got pretty excited and said, "Mo-hab, ze mountain biking capitol of ze world". He was all ears and wanted to know how big it was, what was going on there, what it was like and what was what. It was "ze" place he wanted to go to in the States.
People were climbing towers and were positioned where ever they thought they would get the best view of their heroes. The gent that displayed the Australian flag was convinced his guy was to be the ultimate winner, but events have proven otherwise (as of this writing).
The gendarmes kept traffic and parking in hand. There were a number on the ground but many more whizzed by in police vehicles. It might have been the ideal day to pull off a big bank heist, but even the gendarmes joined in collecting key chains, ballpoint pens, H20 bottles, coin purses and other essential advertising paraphernalia.
There were people like us who just wanted to say they did it once, folks who were just there to see how much loot they could drag home, some were there to be seen, some to see the promotions and some to see their heroes. Some, it seemed, just happened to be there and didn't really have a clue that there was going to be a race passing through town.