Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Allez les gars!

"I have always loved watching the Tour de France because it is an annual exploration of the wonderful countryside of a nation that means so much for me.

The helicopter swooping over medieval fortifications, around sumptuous chateaux. The pillion-riding cameramen speeding through the narrow streets of the villages which give la France profonde its unmistakable character. The fans lining the slopes of this or the other formidable col..."

That I noted in this blog in 2010 and it still sums up my feelings with regard to le Grand Boucle.
"Each year, in the sweltering heat of July, millions of people take up positions on roadsides around France to cheer, shout and bellow cries of encouragement to a peleton of nearly 200 cyclists as they speed past in a stream of day-glo Lycra. Millions more watch on television – though few of them are cycling aficionados. Because the Tour de France is far more than a mere bike race. For the French, it’s a national institution; a symbol of unity; a chance, as the riders pit themselves against the toughest terrain the mighty héxagone can throw at them, to admire the scenic splendour of the country in all its summer glory, with the fields of the Garonne’s sun flowers in full bloom, the Côte d’Azur at its most sleek, and the craggy Alps basking under boundless blue skies."

Since 1997, when Jan Ullrich beat the favourites Pantani and Virenque to triumph in Paris, I have watched every edition of the Tour. His duels with Lance Armstrong in the years that followed were pure sporting theatre.

Twenty years later I find it amusing that there is a team carrying the flag of the Sandlands participating.

1 comment:

nzm said...

I found it amusing when one of the Sandland riders crossed himself as he started one of the legs!

Good to see you're still blogging - one of the few who still are!