The worst thing about going to the Tour?
‘Cold turkey’ is tough – Dave and I used to go to a kermis on the Monday after the Tour finished to ease our ‘crash.’
And last year Callum and I went to the post Tour crit in Aalst.
Not this year however because we flew home from Geneva.
But our man Callum found another solution; he got himself down to the ‘Ride London’ race; whilst we had to watch it on TV – with no coverage of the crucial last few K.
But Callum let us have some pictures – we hope you like them.
It’s a whole weekend of cycle sport with the ladies racing on the Saturday then sportivs on the Sunday before the pros take the stage.
Distances were 46 and 100 miles, as I recall.
It’s ‘all in a good cause’ with many riders getting themselves sponsored for charity to do the ride.
But just because you can afford a nice machine and the entry fee for a sportive it doesn’t mean you know anything about bikes…
The Johns Ambulance were there for the inevitable ‘fingers in the chainrings’ – that’s not so bad on gears, I did it once with a fixed and almost chopped my thumb off.
I can still hear the ‘crunch!’
There could be no complaints about the parcours, taking in some of London’s most famous landmarks.
The main event was always going to be a glitzy affair with Christopher and the Sky boys just back from sorting out Johnny Foreigner.
And team cars don’t get much glitzier this one …
It’s not like Brad to get upstaged but…
We were a tad surprised at how low key Adam Blythe’s British Champion’s jersey was.
Adam is a boy for the bling and we’d expected sequined or maybe LED bands on the jersey – but it was actually very ‘trad.’
We did spot the white shoes with red and blue flashes though.
An improvement on those leopard skin jobs he wore in the British a year or two ago.
He didn’t disappoint with the shades, though.
The man they’d all come to see was there – a three time Tour de France winner, you’d have got long odds on that back in his Barloworld days.
His right hand man – well, one of them – was there too.
The Commonwealth Games champion bridged up to the break was joined by Ian Stannard then attacked the croup with around 50 K to go.
Riding solo along the Thames and putting on a great show for the crowd.
Even though he had a good lead coming in to the last 20k or so we were reminded of how gaps shrink when a lone rider is battling hard to do 40+ kph whilst the peloton is rampaging at 60 kph.
But Lefevre’s boys don’t mess about – not when Tom’s on form and there’s a huge first prize.
They closed it down then set it up for the big chap.
Boonen explained after that race that he hadn’t had it easy, getting caught in a split and having to fight back after a puncture.
At the finish he was lengths clear – just like the old days but let’s not forget how impressive he was in Paris-Roubaix this spring.
Not a bad finale, I thought – but then I always love a Boonen win.
When Tomeke hangs up his wheels it’ll leave a huge gap in the sport – proper charismatic champions are getting thinner on the ground…
With thanks to Callum for the images.