Everywhere we went today there were cyclists and walkers and drivers headed to the somewhere along the Le Tour de France Stage 1 route. Estimates range from 1 million to 3 million people lining the course. At the end of the race Paul Sherwen said that the racers will not be dealing with sore legs so much as sore ears from the crowds shouting all day. There were a few occasions where the fans did not leave enough room for the peloton. Overall the atmosphere was fantastic and Yorkshire should be proud.
We cycled from the top of the moors (14 miles) to West Tanfield. Brian and Gabe did the full 52 miles today but the rest of us chose to give our legs a break.The scenery was even more breathtaking today and the weather cooperated. If you saw it on the telly–the photography was untouched. It was really that beautiful today.
Trek Travel arranged for a private room at the Bull Inn in West Tanfield with a television, lunch service and easy access to the course. The first “rush from the room” was for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince William and Kate. It was lovely to see how thrilled all of the Yorkshire people were to have their support. It was fun to observe how great both of them are at meeting and greeting people, especially children. One person overheard Prince William jokiing with a young boy who ran round to get in line for a second handshake.
Trek Racer Jens Voigt broke away with two other riders from the start. Then Jensie shed those two after the first big climb. The last climb of the day did him in and the peloton caught him before West Tanfield. We were about 30 kilometers from the finish so the peloton went by very fast. It was thrilling. How can they go that fast on these hills???
In the last 500 meters Trek Racer Fabian Cancellara made the race even more interesting by charging past the sprint trains and going for the finish. Unfortunately he ran out of gas before the line. The stage was won by Marcel Kittel of team Giant-Shimano. For me this was completely overshadowed by Mark Cavendish’s crash. His injuries have most likely taken him out of the Tour. I am disappointed for him and le Tour. It will be less exciting without him.
We had quite a hike to the car (parking was some distance from the village, thus incentivizing bicycling to the race). We had time to shower at the Timble Inn and meet up on the patio for canapes and drinks. Another delicious dinner was on offer but I was still full from the Steak and Ale pie at the Bull Inn (yum).
Tomorrow is an early start and I need to pack. Good night.