Towards the end of June I was offered the chance to go to Paris on the final weekend of the Tour de France.
This was too good of an opportunity to turn down so I got the flights booked and an extra night at the hotel (to make a nice long weekend) and dragged the girlfriend along!
This is my thoughts on TDF 2017 (limiting to 5 points) and also a short round up of my thoughts on the race.
- Peter Sagan was very unlucky to be disqualified – This point is pretty self explanatory. He can feel hard done to for receiving a disqualification for the crash. At first glance this was going to be detrimental to the Tour and we may as well all call it quits now because the man who animates the race is now gone. However, the battle for the Green Jersey was now wide open and at it’s most interesting for years as Sunweb and Michael Matthews showed their class in their attempts to secure. Michael Matthews was one of the standout performers of the Tour with his stage wins and consistent finishes that allowed him to claim the TDF Green Jersey. Every cloud and all that…
- Team Sky grind it out – Not really being a fan of a cycling team and having no particular allegiances; I just want an interesting exciting race. At times we got this, at times we didn’t. One thing can be agreed on though: Team Sky controlled the race from start to finish pretty much. Whilst it can be argued that Team Sky suck the life out of the race, I would disagree and say that it is Sky’s opposition (Movistar, AG2R and Astana’s responsibility to take the race to Sky.
- France finally get their Bastille Day win – Warren Barguil delivered that; and this Tour was arguably his breakout Tour. He looks like a real prospect for the GC in years to come.
- France’s new generation are coming of age – With the likes of the aforementioned Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet, Lilian Calmejane and Tony Gallopin it would appear that France now has a host of riders that can win stages of the TDF and could potentially go for the GC in years to come.
- The main challengers aren’t always the most obvious ones – With Quintana being burnt out, the sands of time catching up with Contador and Aru having no team mates left; Rigoberto Uran and Romain Bardet were Froome’s main challengers. This was refreshing as Bardet would probably not have got on the podium had these three performed as predicted. The real left field challenger was Uran, who has been in the wilderness for the last couple of years.
We (me and my girlfriend) were in Paris for the final stage of the Tour so decided to go down to the finish on the Champs Elysee and take in the experience. We walked in to the centre from our hotel as we didn’t know which Metro stations would be open and which would not. The walk was around 7km according to Google Maps.
Suresnes was a very nice part of Paris to stay in and felt more authentic than the last time we were there staying in the centre; but back to the cycling…
Walking in to the centre we appeared at the L’Arc de Triomphe and after getting through the security we had a look around.
The whole atmosphere was fantastic, almost carnival like. We arrived quite early as, having done some research, everyone recommended getting there as early as possible. In hindsight, we were probably there too early as we landed at around midday and the race was not getting into Town until about 6.30pm.
We decided to walk down to the Louvre after lunch to try and get a good spot.
The further towards the Louvre we got, the busier it became.
We did a lap and ended up back where we started, on the Champs Elysee. As the Peloton was making it’s way round to begin with we were about 3 or 4 people back from the barrier as it was busy. However, the view was excellent and we had 8 chances to see the peloton pass by.
As they went by for the 3rd time people were beginning to get bored and leaving so we jumped at the chance to get to the barriers.
The pictures below were taken by myself and illustrate how good the view and the race was and; also, how quick they were actually going!
It was a class event and must do for any cycling fan!