Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Le Tour - ici! Allez - Vites!

1445pm and Epping is full of anticipation - I'm hit by the emotion of it all; my last Tour.

Now the press are zooming through - Laurent Jalabert's car (a famous former rider now working for French media as a commentator, everyone knows his name).

Now the race officials cars are getting more serious;

Any minute now le Patron. It's coming;

It really is coming;

And now the riders, so fast we can't take it in, these aren't the leaders;

The peloton is coming now, my camera isn't good enough to cope with the speed of it all (I'm far too excited to take pictures);

And now in a mad rush, hundreds of team cars rush past us with spare bikes and wheels on the roof racks, the water bottle vans, referees in their red cars, press bikes and TV cameras, the helicopters, ambulances and Police, the VIP's and politicians.

Hurry! Allez!  Allez!  Vites!

A big cheer for L'anterne Rouge, The Red Lantern - last rider on the day. Hurry, catch up - there's still time!;

Then the saddest sight of all, The Broom Wagon which sweeps up the ill and the injured who retire from the race (wait till the days in the mountains, it will be full);

Worse, the end of the Tour (Fin de la Course);

But still time for some high fives - after 7 hours standing we've earnt it;

And then it's all over, the race has moved on to London and tomorrow?
The PMU sprint will be set up just like today but in a little French town somewhere between Le Touquet and Lilles.
All that will be left will be a little white line across the High Street which will soon wear away and some memories.
Vive La Tour.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
As  usual if you click on a picture you get a slideshow and better images.

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