Bikes! lots of them, and all over the roads of London and South-East England. Yes, as you might guess I really enjoyed the Tour’s start here in the capital. Shockingly despite many holidays in France I’d never seen the Tour properly before so it was a spectacle in itself to see a premier league race such as the tour rather than something simpler like The Tour Of Britain.
The Prologue on Saturday had an enormous crowd but thanks to big screens and a lengthy route it was really easy (I thought) to get a spot on the barriers. To describe the Tour experience properly I’d need more photos, but I foolishly failed to charge the batteries in my camera before heading out. First to come past is the publicity caravan which includes this sort of blatant promotional nonsense. Particularly cool was Sea France’s truck-disguised-as-a-ferry which had a remarkably good sounding horn. The most scary thing was the australian themed one with the kangaroo on top which featured a frenchman speaking in an australian accent, or an australian speaking with a french accent depending on which you noticed first. The mad dash people made for the Haribo that reached the crowd bordered on the psychotic.
After that there was lots of riders and some mechanics (wearing their Jeans and looking very out of place) testing out the course before over three hours of rider after rider setting times. The atmosphere was amazing with cheers and applause for every passing rider, and a noticeable roar for every British rider and Tour Hero. David Millar got by far the best roar of anyone, which he clearly sought to reward today with his daring ride. Best of all thanks to all the screens there was applause and cheering all round whenever a new fastest time was set. A special mention to the police who took turns between the French and the British to lead riders round, as my housemate noted our humble plod were in full leathers with high viz jackets whereas the French were in shirtsleeves.
All in all, a great day rounded off nicely with a great depart this morning. I almost feel optimistic about 2012.