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Catching the Tour de France 2014

Paris IconicParis Seine and our Eiffel


My husband Hans and I have been Tour de France fans for almost thirty years. In 1992, we caught Miguel Indurain, riding for Banesto, win the Tour in Paris. A classic Tour athlete, Indurain holds the record for the most consecutive (five) Tour de France wins.

Check out his photo gallery here:


 Official Tour Car

Our favorite American rider in the 1992 race was Andy Hampsten, who came in fourth. We cheered hard as he swooshed past on L'Avenue des Champs-ÉlysÉes. I’ve just discovered that Hampsten is now leading cycling tours to Italy, so check them out:


 Hampsten Cinghiale Tours

 Since 1992, Hans and I have followed the Tour in the newspaper or on TV no matter where we were. This year we happened to be in the right place at the right time——London on July 7th.


If you've ever watched the Tour up close, you know that it's all about a long wait and a flash of passing color and carbon. Loads of cheering and fist bumps——and sometimes crazy, even downright stupid fan behavior that knocks a rider off his bike. But, I don't's worth the wait, like of hit of joy juice without side effects.


Joy Juice


This year our London host led us on foot from his Stoke Newington apartment along the River Lea to find a spot on the Tour route near the Olympic Stadium.


Canal boats of LondonThe roads were closed, so walking or biking were the best options. We gathered a team of fans as we hiked——one hopped off his canal boat to join us——and staked out our shouting position next to a group from Slovakia who had draped the barriers with their national flag and team banners.


 River Lea of London

We waited ninety minutes and snapped pictures every time a team car rounded the curve.


Car & MotorcyclesFinally, the Tour helicopters whirred above, and the riders closed in. I stepped onto the barrier and readied my iPhone. My husband held me up, so my hands were free. A dozen photo clicks later, and that was it.


  Fans from SlovakiaWaiting for the riders

The Slovaks were rewarded for their fervor when their compatriot——Jan Barta——whizzed by out front (the Peloton caught him before the race end). My friends recognized the "big" riders in the Peloton. Me? Let’s say, you either watch the race or photograph it.


Not both. I saw only knees and pedals.Riders closing in


 Close up 2Riders close upAll over

Our fan adventure ended in the Princess of Wales pub where the tables were full. All eyes were on the three pub televisions. Our great idea of watching the race finish with a glass of hard cider in hand wasn't original. But we made new friends before the race was done.


Finale at the PubPub fans

Pub TVGifted cider



(All photographs are property of the author.)


Images (21)
  • Hampsten Cinghiale Tours: Hampsten Cinghiale Tours
  • Paris Iconic: Paris Iconic
  • All over for the Day: All over for the Day
  • Canal boats on River Lea: Canal boats on River Lea
  • Tour de France Car & Motorcycles: Tour de France Car & Motorcycles
  • Riders up Close: Riders up Close
  • Fans from Slovakia: Fans from Slovakia
  • Finale at the Pub: Finale at the Pub
  • Gifted cider: Gifted cider
  • Joy Juice: Joy Juice
  • Color & Carbon: Color & Carbon
  • Official Tour Car: Official Tour Car
  • Paris Seine and Tour Eiffel: Paris Seine and Tour Eiffel
  • Pub fans: Pub fans
  • Pub TV: Pub TV
  • Riders close up: Riders close up
  • Riders closing in: Riders closing in
  • Waiting for the riders: Waiting for the riders
  • Watching Race Finish from a Pub: Watching Race Finish from a Pub
  • River Lea of London: River Lea of London
  • Hampsten Cinghiale Tours: Hampsten Cinghiale Tours

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Comments (3)

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What fun!  Glad your iPhone was working (hanging on to you was the least your hubbie could do) and am actually surprised at how fast its shutter speed is.  These guys are really moving and most cameras would have caught them with a blur except in the sports setting (very fast shutter speeds).


I think all big events like this are best enjoyed with new friends over a glass of one's favorite beverage!  Thanks for sharing this moment.  Most of us will never see the tour first hand, but now we know what it's like.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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