07 July 2014

Goodbye England, Goodbye Cav

The only way to get away from the English throngs of fans is to leave the island

Exhale! They made it through, somewhat unscathed, and our boys in bright lycra are rewarded by flying to the mainland. Let part II of this grand race begin.

England, you gave us three exciting and harrowing days of watching racing. The huge thanks from the riders for your enthusiasm was equally matched with their pleads to not endanger yourselves, your children, or themselves. I can't say there was much improvement. By the start of stage 3, it was to the point where I expected to see a video produced titled, "We are the wives and mothers of the peloton, please keep our boys safe."

After three very stressful days of gripping the handlbars for dear life (as if high watts and steep climbs were not enough of a challenge) race organizers probably should have scheduled a rest day tomorrow simply so the riders (and TV viewers) could unwind from the stress of yelling "get out of the way!" But no, the race starts up again tomorrow afternoon in France.

One thing is for sure, the Tour Organizers were so thrilled with the turnout of spectators and warm welcome, the Tour de France will surely return to England soon. The crowds were impressive.  

Shake it off, time to relax and say farewell

I grudgingly got used to not seeing Bradley Wiggins (the current British National Champion Time Trial, Olympian and former Tour winner), David Millar (in his final year of pro racing), or Peter Kennaugh (the current British National Champion Road) at this year's Tour de France, but now we've lost Mark Cavendish, on day one. Bummer!

It was his fault, he admits it, he didn't read the sprint, but some mistakes shouldn't result in being splayed out on the road with the future King and Queen of England waiting at the finish line, awkwardly trying not to look too disappointed.

For us fans, we sadly leave Cav behind. So I thought I would share some photographs I took of a happy Mark just six weeks ago at the Tour of California.

All photos by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer

This is a rider who smiles easily

And races hard

And often wins

And will again. I am so sorry for Mark's "gutted" disappointment, but he has known dissapointment before and will be back stronger. The thrill of the sprint adds much to the Tour de France every year. I hope the excitement and controversy continue even in Mark's absence.

 Meanwhile I hear Fanta is looking for him -

Au revoir Cav, heal well, we'll miss you!

And yes, Mark Cavendish can climb. I watched him come from the back of the peloton on the climb of Stage 8 to win the stage in a sprint. Never doubt that a good sprinter can make their way back to the front. They are phenomenal powerful bike handlers. And climb much better than you and me; read a study on Mark's climbing ability at Mark Cavendish, Mar 04 2011 02:37 PM | Velo Peloton

The three Brits carrying on to France:
FROOME Christopher
THOMAS Geraint

Best photo of the week is photo credit to @Liverpoolmerc
Crowds in England at TDF, Photo by Liverpoolmerc

Honorable mention to @JeredGruber for his photos. You can't see the road for the fans.

STAGE 4 - hopping the channel to LE TOUQUET-PARIS-PLAGE, FRANCE, stage start at 13h35 tomorrow!

The big cobbles are in Stage 5!