The Ravenous Rambler on the Tour de France


Tour de France

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

No, not me – my cycling is not up to it but the tour did go right past our Gîte.  They closed the road from 11.00am so we camped out at the gate with a cup of coffee and a book to read. At first, all was quiet on this otherwise  busy road. Then the entourage started coming through. First Gendarmerie with their blues and twos going. Then convoys of advertising support floats with music, megaphones and displays. As they go past they throw freebies out – we collected a whole pile of hats, key rings, bags, packs of cards, washing powder, more key rings, paper megaphones and so on. Then more police and support vehicles. These convoys went on for about an hour, then it all went quiet once more. One car stopped opposite us and six men got out to have an impromptu picnic. We could tell that the race was a while away. More police and support vehicles went past. The picnic people packed up and gave us the rest of their food – some excellent cutlery and glasses – and their rubbish!
More police and announcing ‘three minutes…’ more motorcyclists and police… helicopters went over, still they didn’t come… then another helicopter and this was it. Suddenly the two leaders came through surrounded by support vehicles. Thirty seconds goes by and then the pack flash through, I steady my camera and fire away until I get the annoying message – ‘busy’ I had taken too many for the buffer to hold..and then they were gone in a stream of more support vehicles.
We collected up all the extra bags and hats from the bushes and retired inside to watch the rest on TV. The two leaders kept out in front all the way to Narbonne to be overtaken by the pack a few kilometres from the end. Then, with 100 metres to go things hotted up on the home run and it was very satisfying to see our Mark Cavendish win the stage in a last ditch sprint.

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