The world of professional road race cycling has a mixed public image.
Its century-long historical connection with performance enhancing substances and innumerable clashes with those authorities tasked with attempting to deal with such issues in which legal threats, actual (or attempted) subterfuge and the slight taste left in the mouth by bitter experience that ‘all is never quite what it seems’ have served to ferment a not-altogether-healthy yet rampant cynicism in those – like me – who count themselves neither experts nor fans.
Nevertheless I cannot deny that most years I spend a fruitful hour or two watching live coverage of events like the Tour de France and/or the RideLondon – Surrey 100 on television and quite enjoy them, especially when I am nursing a large gin & tonic (with a bit of pink) of an early evening and/or idly flicking through the supplementary newspaper sections of a late Sunday morning.
They televise well is a similar manner to the way that golf does: there’s always something going on somewhere, even if sometimes it’s not specifically to do with the sport itself.
With road cycling there’s a certain majesty in switching from a series of wide or overview shots of the surrounding landscape and countryside – and the villages, towns and hamlets – through which the participants progress like a speeded-up piece of Natural World footage of an army of ants to some intense kerbside action as – for example – a small group or a lone rider suddenly breaks away in an effort to escape the clutches of the peloton. If there’s not much happening the commentators can comment upon, or discuss, a hundred other things.
But I digress.
Here’s a link to a piece by Sean Ingle on Lawson Craddock – this year’s Tour de France winner of the Lanterne Rouge – which goes a long way to bring the Tour right down to a human and heart-warming level – see here, as appears upon the website today of – THE GUARDIAN