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If you can’t be in France for the Tour de France, surely the next best place to be is either Amante in Boulder.

The Tour ended Sunday with the traditional finale loops through Paris along the Champs-Elysees. And of local note, Boulder-based racer Tom Danielson, who rides for Boulder-based Team Garmin-Cervelo, was among them, earning a stellar No. 9 finish in the 2011 Tour. But before the leaders took a moment for a champagne toast astride their bikes, I took in some Boulder Tour-watching culture at the Amante on north Broadway.

At the local coffee company, I sought answers to important questions: Who will wear the yellow jersey? Who will snag the stage win on the Alpe d’Huez? And of course, don’t any of you people sitting here with me have jobs?

It’s a brazen question, even if it’s what everyone is thinking. Fortunately, people laughed when I asked.

Thursday morning, after the thrilling race up the Galibier, I chatted with a couple of guys who were employed — full time, at an advertising agency.

I checked the time: 9:35 a.m. Shouldn’t you be at work?

One of them turned the question around on me. I explained that in a way, I was at work.

Then I wondered what my editor thought when I announced, hey, I’m going to Amante to watch the Tour this morning.

Maybe I’ll be unemployed watching the Vuelta a Espana at Amante in September.

Anyway, these guys were among several I talked with, who had either flexible schedules, and/or understanding bosses. Some who had understanding bosses were self-employed.

Anthony Davis, who was pulling shot after shot of espresso Friday morning, during the legendary Alpe d’Huez climb, said, “For a lot of people, this is their office.”

(This is Davis’ fourth Tour at Amante. He prefers skateboarding to cycling.)

Many laptops were open at the café Friday, but not all of their owners were working. Peter Wayne, a freelance photographer, was streaming live video on his laptop so he could hear the commentary, which plays at Amante but is often difficult to hear.

Wayne rode Alpe d’Huez in 2004 to watch the time trial to the top.

“It is one of the biggest party mountains on the entire tour,” he said.

(Earlier, the Amante crowd cheered for a male fan on the Alpe running in a bikini who was tackled by an official.)

Wayne has been coming to Amante to watch the Tour since they started showing it.

“I come here every morning for coffee, anyway,” he said. But he missed the Saturday time trail — he was working.

During my Thursday and Friday morning Tour watching, I talked to someone who gets July off, someone on vacation, someone unemployed, someone who was working later in the day.

At Amante, people cheer, clap. The excitement is palpable. But at the end of the stage Friday, a little boy walked out ahead of his dad with a book tucked under his arm. I asked whether he had a book because the Tour is boring.

He solemnly nodded yes.