Posted by: kathandroger | July 19, 2013

Grand day out at the Tour

So the ‘Grand Boucle’ as it is known here, or the Tour de France is nearing its close and for the second year running it looks as though there’ll be a British victor (well a bit British). The only thing is that here in France no one believes he is clean. The French cannot believe that someone can ride up Mont Ventoux the way Froomey did the other day without the aid of some sort of banned substance. Even the way the TF1 news reports the Tour blatantly suggests some sort of skullduggery. It is not surprising, of course, given the recent past. I have to admit to being in two minds myself, but whatever the case he is mightily impressive. No doubt we’ll know the truth in 10 years time!

The race is still a great spectacle though. It was passing close to here last week, so we had a trip out to the picturesque village of Montresor (officially one of the 50 most beautiful villages in France). The race wasn’t passing through the town until 14.30, but we got there nice and early to soak up the atmosphere. Here is the gang in Tour-watching gear…

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We set up camp in a prime spot on the roadside, opened the beers and crisps and waited. The ‘caravan’ comes around first – a procession of advertising vehicles that trip around the french countryside disguised as bottles of water, horses, boxes of biscuits etc….

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This bit is the real show part of the Tour, with people throwing sweets, biscuits, cakes, bottles of water, caps and a whole array of other things into the crowd as they pass by. Once the caravan has passed through it is, of course, time for lunch. Cool boxes emerge from beneath picnic tables, bottles of wine are opened and for the next hour or so eating takes preference over waving at strange vehicles. Then it is time for the Tour itself. The first signs are the helicopters overhead (there were at least 8 circling around!), a vehicle comes through announcing the state of the race (there was a breakaway of a few riders 3 minutes ahead of the main pack). Then…whooshh – there they are and there they went! Here’s Chris Froome to the rear of the main peleton…

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So that’s it – 4 hours waiting, 5 minutes of the race! But a grand day out nonetheless. Looking forward to seeing how the good folk of Yorkshire enjoy the spectacle next year….


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