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Tour de France

Don Madge

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This years Tour started yesterday in and moves on to the continent today.


It finishes in Paris on Sunday 29th July.


If you are touring France in July check the tour route or you could be in for some long waits.


For those who have not been caught-up in the Tour before, the Gendarmes close a rolling section of the road some 4 hrs before the riders come through, so a long wait if you need to get somewhere.


For those who have seen it - whether planned or not - it is quite a sight, and everything, I mean everything takes a back seat where the Tour comes through.


Take a look at this link for full course details.



Safe travelling



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If your itinerary takes you anywhere near, don't curse the disruption, park up and go take a look. We saw it in Canterbury yesterday - see my post a few mins ago on Ch'box under "It's a wonderful life."


In terms of spectators, it's the biggest annual sporting event in the world (only the Olympics and World Cup are bigger, and they aren't annual) - and it's FREE! Local towns aren't even allowed to charge for grandstand seating, which is why most don't provide any.




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Never mind the race you should have seen the entourage disembarking from the ferry. Last night in Calais the SF Cezanne arrived on berth 8 at 22:00 and the place went nuts.


The ships sirens were sounding and the amount of vehicles speeding down the off ramp was incredible. There were motorbikes, Reuters and lots of the boys in blue, there were official cars mainly Skodas, TV crews filming through the sun roofs, Norbert Dessy lorries who are yet another sponsor of the Tour, plus Police cars and other sponsor vehicles.


There were a few 'ordinary' passengers who were looking quite bemused.


Once the ferry loaded for the trip to Dover it was obvious a good time had been had by all. The crew were wearing official Tour t-shirts, SF is another sponsor, which had been signed by lots of people while in situ.


Oh, and there wasn't a push bike or rider in sight.



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Thats because the riders went through the Chunnel.

I'm going over to watch the 2nd & 3rd weeks (Alps, Pyrenees, up to Paris). In the mountains you have to get your pitch minimum 24 hours in advance.

There is something like a 1000 vehicles working on the race each year.


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For those who didn't manage to see the Tour visit London over the weekend I can only add my comments.

We thought it was totally awesome. And on Sunday although we stood for over 2 hours for about 30 seconds of the race passing I can honestly say it was worth it. We did see the Friday team introduction and the Prologue so have spent a lot of time standing up.


I have always fancied seeing the Tour in the mountains I think it is all the footage I have seen of the chalking on the roads and now you see all the motorhomes watching which helps. So who knows !


Ken was on the radio today and is already trying to get a stage before the 2012 Olympics with hopefully another Grand Depart not long afterwards.



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