For all the modernising and professionalisation of the Pro Peleton road cycling remains a relatively accessible sport. I have been on holiday in north of Spain where people took bus trips to Barcelona just to see the hallowed turf of the Nou Camp. That is as close as it gets. Similarly golf fans rarely if ever get a chance to play on the championship courses and even then at some expense. A similar story can be told of cricket too I've heard.
Though the start and bus areas may be invite only at the Tour we stand at the roadside and our heroes duly ride by. And the course is open to us every other day of the year. In the final stage this year there was a wee bit of spice with two cat 4 climbs of Cote de Saint Remy les Chevreuse and Cote de Chateaufort. Nothing to get distressed about for the pros but maybe enough effort required to suspend frivolities and apply both hands to the bars. Staying close to Village Depart of Rambouillet it seemed only right to take in a few kilometres of the etape just to see what they looked like.
|simplement parce que|
A few others had the same idea and a number of nods of recognition were exchanged. This Tour has had only two riders wear the yellow jersey and both are time trial specialists. Bradley Wiggins has acknowledged Miguel Indurain as his Tour hero and he too was able to make large gains in time trials and defend them in the mountains. It is customary now to suggest that Big Mig could not climb but this misses the point since he so clearly could climb but had no need to attack to gain any more time. It is also fitting that at the top of Cote de Chateaufort is a monument to Jaques Anquetil another man who could make great gains in the time trial and defend in the mountains. Having seen what was there it seemed a fitting point to turn and try the climbs from the other side for no other reason than I could.
|stele Jacques Anquetil|