July 26, 2007
Laughing past the graveyard
I seem to remember a time when the Tour was fun. And after the last couple of days, I thought we could all use a little bit of the Tour's lighter, dare I say more whimsical, side.
Snark first: Elden at FatCyclist offers 5 Questions About the Tour de France Thus Far, including: Question 2. How come people keep sending Iban Mayo to the Tour?
The video above (which I saw first at QuickRelease.TV) has French accordion music and a setup worth of Punch & Judy or Itchy and Scratchy. It also reminded me of a site that tracks the Tour's publicity caravan and scale models of the caravan vehicles (and speaking of Itchy and Scratchy, here's the elaborate rolling Les Simpson, Le Film diorama in this year's caravan), mostly in French (also here).
And nobody uses model cyclists and race vehicles better than Anthony Pope, with his Plastic Peloton People, where he's put up a “print-out-and-keep momento” of the London Grand Depart. Here's an interview with Pope in PezCyclingNews in June.
July 09, 2007
London Mayor says Tour will return, but when?
London Mayor Ken Livingstone reports that Tour organizers were thrilled with the city's Grand Depart, which drew more than a million fans to the Prologue course Saturday, and an estimated 2 million more to the road course between London and Canterbury Sunday.
Livingstone gave a nod to the possibility of a visit in 2012, when London hosts the Olympic Games:
“I think realistically it would be five or six years. The organisers (the Amaury Sport Organisation) have said they are very pleased.”
He added: “The eyes of the world have been on London this weekend, and the first Grand Depart in the UK has been a phenomenal success.”
Update: William Fotheringham of The Guardian talked to Livingstone and Tour director Christian Prudhomme about a return to London yesterday, and Prudhomme would commit only to “after a respectable interval,” while Livingstone said “We hope to win the right to do it in 2013, 2014, something like that.” Prudhomme pointed to 224 requests to host stage starts or finishes, and 10 proposals from cities outside France for Grand Départs, which only leave France twice every 5 years.
July 07, 2007
L'Equipe becomes "The Team" for London start
The French sports daily L'Equipe commemmorated the Tour's visit to London with a Saturday edition that featured two front pages -- one in English.
With Marion Bartoli in the women's Wimbledon final and Richard Gasquet facing off with Roger Federer later today, the eyes of the French sports world are in London today, and both covers featured the headline “God Save le Tour!”
Only the cover was in English, although interestingly, the paper's web page is surveying its readers today on whether they speak English, with 73 percent so far answering, “Oui.”
VeloNews has posted a photo of the two covers (scroll down to “Latest photos”).
July 02, 2007
Graham Watson exhibiting in London
Graham Watson is the creator of many of the iconic images of the Tour during the last 25 years. His photography often transcends the competition of the Tour, bringing in the landscape and the surroundings that make the Tour such a great race.
With the Tour coming to his hometown, Watson has a showing in London, at the County Hall Gallery just 50 yards from the London Eye. The exhibit runs through July 9th, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closing at 5 on July 5th) and is FREE.
More than 200 of Watson's best Tour photos are on exhibit, with many available for purchase. If you plan on visiting London for the Prologue, don't miss this exhibit.
June 13, 2007
Preride the prologue with BBC Sport
The prologue of this year's Tour is a 7.9-kilometer (4.9 mile) circuit of central London. It will probably take the pros something like 10 minutes to complete the circuit.
But what if a reasonably fit cyclist tried to do the same course without benefit of road closings and barricades? Check out this video to see how the prologue route rides on a normal day:
BBC Sport is running a contest to guess how long it took “the most athletic person in the office” to ride the prologue course (in a T-Mobile jersey) during London rush hour.
Winner gets VIP tickets to the Skoda hospitality tent and a signed T-Mobile team jersey. A runner-up will win a second autographed jersey. E-mailed guesses must be received by midnight, London time, this Sunday, June 17th.
“I'd just like to point out here that I'm not actually a professional cyclist.”