This is a snapshot I took of Robbie McEwen as he sped past me yesterday on the way to his Tour de France stage victory.
What a day! What a victory for the great man!
We got to watch yesterday’s stage from two different parts of the course; the first around an hour after the start, and the second around 1 km from the finish at Canterbury.
The crowds were amazing. The official estimate from Saturday’s prologue was around 1 million people, and for yesterday’s stage this had been increased to 2 million people. Not sure how they counted…
As one commentator said in the paper yesterday, nobody should underestimate the enthusiasm of the British to attend major sporting events – particularly when they are free.
(It wasn’t a bad weekend of sport here – Tour de France, Formula One Grand Prix, Wimbledon, One Day Cricket international)
At Canterbury we had a great view of the riders as they approached the one km balloon. Even so, they still whiz past, and if you’re trying to take a photo or two you have even less time to take in the action.
I managed to spot McEwen in about 15th place and thought he would go close from there. I think my booming “GO ROBBIE” was probably the difference in the end. Can’t believe he didn’t wait to say g’day to me at the podium.
Canterbury itself is a fantastic town, with the ancient cathedral and town walls providing a unique backdrop to the heroics of the tour riders.
After the race, we spent a few hours wandering around the town, enjoying the cobblestone streets, monuments, peaceful rivers, and of course calling in at one of the local establishments for a cleansing ale. We saw a dunking chair, used to determine whether women accused of witchcraft were, in fact, witches. Very Pythonesque.
My very craptacular photos of the tour can be found here:
I haven’t sorted the really crap ones from the regulation crap ones yet.