This year I finally did something I have wanted to do since I was 10, I saw the Tour De France Live.
As a kid i saw this tv show, loads of men on bikes racing through a place I’d never seen. it was 1991 and a man was in a bright yellow jersey, his name was Miguel Indurain though I only learned that later. A passion for this strange sport, with its strange terms, rules and places was born. A passion that would last for a lifetime. My bike was a vital part in fighting my depression.
However on the previous visits of Le Tour to our shores circumstances meant I had to miss it. I passed out on a train on my way to see it last time. I’ve been lucky enough to see the Olympic races, the Tour Of Britain, The Womens Crit (huge supporter of women’s cycling, Vos is the greatest rider of her generation, men and women) and the London Surrey Classic goes past my house, but never Le Tour, the mythical destroyer of men, well this year I finally did.
I took an early finish from work and met my dear friend Penny at Waterloo, we took our place against the barriers on Embankment and waited, I was already super excited about seeing my all time fave Jensie come flying past in his last tour, not to mention Tommy V, Kittel and a host of others and I was somewhat excitable I’m sure.
Then as the beat of the helicopter grew overhead I was no longer the man in his 30’s at the side of the road, I was back to that young boy glimpsing a weird sport for the first time, the scandals, the dopers, the court cases, in those seconds none of it mattered, I was getting to see the tour.
And then in the most fleeting of moments there it was, the yellow jersey, Nibali charging past. To cycling fans to see the jersey is to witness immortality. The history of those who have worn it, all turned into legends (some later reverted to fallen stars) the most recognisable shirt in global sport. That flash of colour carries so much, so much blood, so much sweat, so many tears. Ask little Tommy V who fought so hard to retain it for just one more day a couple of years ago. It writes a riders name in history, and for the fans it’s a yardstick, any conversation of the greats will contain a reference to that little mythical, mysterious piece of cloth that drags us to spend all of July watch men pedal round for 3 weeks.
My ambition for so long done and over in about 5 seconds at the side of a crowded road. It may seem silly and stupid for many, but that was my highlight of 2014.
Also Yorkshire, London & Cambridge, you did us proud