Sunday, 25 July 2010
Tour de France
I saw the almost-end of the Tour de France by accident today. I was on my way to the bookshop on the Rue de Rivoli when it gradually dawned on me that the hoards of people and the fact that the road was closed off were not merely symptoms of Paris in the summer but a sign that the world's most famous cycle race was about to speed past my very eyes. People were already gathering at one o'clock but I got my shopping done and managed to find a space standing on a bollard from where I could just about see over everybody else's heads just after four. At around half past four, a great cheer rose up from the crowds and the first group of cyclists went past. They were so fast it was literally a blur. Under normal circumstances, these guys would be way over the speed limit. They were followed by a whole load of cars with bits of bikes spinning away on the roofs, then the next group arrived. I only meant to stay to watch the first group but there was something captivating about the speed and the effort and the concentration of the cyclists. And the fact that these guys have been doing this for three whole weeks. Amazing.