Vive le Tour de France!

SimonGeneral2 Comments

OK, forgive me the continental flavour of the headline…it’s been a good day with the sun shining on Kent.

The Tour de France came through Medway and finished with a Brit taking the honours in Canterbury. Throughout the route the race looked well supported, and I was particularly pleased to see good crowds in Medway.


I spent the morning watching the pre-race build-up and race itself in Gillingham, at the first sprint section of the race.

Aside from fielding phone calls from various council colleagues and keeping tabs on what was happening in other parts of Medway, it was nice to be able to forget about the communications challenges that have gone with the event over the past couple of months and enjoy the spectacle of the world’s largest annual sporting event visiting these shores.

The race is preceded by the publicity caravanne – a parade of floats and other promotional vehicles that entertain the waiting crowds. Unfortunately where I was standing they decided to go quite fast, so it wasn’t that easy to see the floats properly:

Then around noon the crowds were cheering for a British leader – David Millar came through leading the stage and taking the first sprint honours too: 

Three or four minutes later the peloton sped through, followed by lots of team vehicles and race officials:

The cyclists themselves passed by in just 10 or 15 seconds – in case you missed them, here’s a slow motion version!

More of my pictures are available on Flickr.

[tags]Medway, tour+de+france, gillingham[/tags]

2 Comments on “Vive le Tour de France!”

  1. Hi Simon,
    A lot has happened with the Tour between leaving the UK a few weeks ago and reaching Paris today. I was just wondering how you felt about the event now.
    Having put so much work into helping make the UK legs such a resounding success, how disappointed are you that this year’s Tour has turned out the way it has? That it will be remembered for drugs, not the reception it got in the UK?

  2. Hi Chris – thanks for the comment.

    Yes, it’s certainly disappointing how things have turned out with the race overall, but looking back on the experience I don’t feel disappointed with how the race went in London and Kent.

    While the competitive cycling is, of course, important, the experience for the UK spectators was as much about the spectacle of the event, the range of supporting events, a good family day out and getting people on their bikes than it was about world-class sport.

    It’ll be interesting to see if any changes are made to the event next year, as much of the commentary on the race talks about this year as being a low point from which the race must improve to survive.

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