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Le Tour de France

I felt a whole range of emotion at the first day of the Tour.

With so many sporting events ruined, would the Tour be? In fact it was only postponed from late June.

Notwithstanding that Nice is in the danger zone for Covid and the Tour being a non-stadium event so impossible to impose social distancing, it went ahead and I was delighted.

On the other hand I planned to attend in June and readers will know that Rusters travel there annually. So I was  sad to see Nice on TV but not to be there.

People say to me what is the attraction of watching  cyclists parade by anyway? The Tour, as you can appreciate from its name, symbolises and showcases France.

In a gruelling 3 weeks it goes from the French coast to the mountains to the cities and along the way you see glorious countryside. It is both a team and individual sport.

The French have not had a winner for 30 years and it is the Brits that have dominated recently with Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

This year there are only 4 Brits – and no Froome, Thomas, nor the sprinter Mark Cavendish.

The course has been set out to help the French riders whose chief hope lie with Thibaud Pinot.

With Primoz Roglic injured in the Criterium de Dauphine there is no clear favourite though last year’s winner Egan Bernal must be fancied.

Normally the first week is for the sprinters on the flat terrain of northern France but this year the riders will be in the mountains today and there is only one time trial.

Unusually for Nice there was heavy rain yesterday making for slippery and treacherous roads.

The stage was characterised by falls and injuries. No one was unscathed and we saw some dramatic incidents.

Eventually Tony Martin rode to the head of the Peleton and waved his arms to say “enough already”. It was like the safety car appearing in F1.

Some chose to ignore and Miguel Lopez of Astana’s back wheel slid, forcing him into a hoarding.

In an exciting finish along the Promenade des Anglais Norwegian Alex Christoff took the stage.

Over  the next 3 weeks we will see falls, surprises and drama as well as the marvellous scenery.

About Guy Danaway

Guy Danaway and his family live on the outskirts of Rugby. He is chairman of a small engineering company and has been a keen club cyclist for many years. He has edited Cycling Weekly since 1984 and is a regular contributor to the media on cycling issues. More Posts