Yes, it’s that time of year again… The Tour de France is well underway, with the first 3 days seeing their fair share of drama – and a yellow jersey for Sky Team’s Chris Froome!
Yesterday we caught up with former racing cyclist and Olympic medalist Chris Boardman, creator of Halfords range of Boardman bikes, as well as the Boardman Elite range. He shared his exclusive behind-the-scenes update with us from the first few days – read on to find out more!
Tour de France 2015
“Another year, another Tour. The exciting thing about coming to the start of the biggest bike race in the world every year is you never know quite what’s going to happen; each year is a blank canvas for the riders to paint on, and the 2015 edition has kicked off with some dramatic strokes.”
The calm before the storm
“From my perspective, 2 days before the event starts, I meet up with a group of 10 slightly eccentric misfits (and I include myself in their number!): cameramen, sound engineers, presenters and drivers. We then proceed to squabble, fight and laugh our way around France in a big TV truck and a few Renault Espaces. It’s not glamorous, but making 42 TV programs and 22 podcasts is tremendously satisfying.”
“I was particularly excited about the start of the 2015 race because Utrecht is one of the most cycling-friendly cities in the world. It was incredible to be immersed in a cycling culture, and see whole families (sometimes on the same 4-seater bike) going about their lives and enjoying the sun.”
And we’re off…
“As for the race itself, we couldn’t have had a more exciting first 3 days. The time trial was spectacular, with crowds 20 deep for the 13km circuit, and I had a personal interest when Rohan Dennis won – beating my 21 year old record average speed for a TT in the Tour de France. Another layer of dust on my sporting coffin. But I’m not bitter (I am really).”
“Day 2 of the race was run off on flat, smooth, straight roads across Holland, so you’d think it would have been uneventful. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Rain and wind in the middle of the race blew it apart, and big time gaps appeared between many of the favourites. Unlike last year, Chris Froome was on the doling out side of the action.”
“We arrived at our hotel – as we do most nights – around 10pm. These are always a mixed bag, but Sunday night’s was an amazing old château over the border in Belgium (the scene of the next day’s racing) that served a raft of different local beers. It’s all part of our cultural experience.”
“Despite the brighter weather, Monday’s racing was just as exciting, with crashes and crosswinds making it a very nervous day. The riders are being forced to treat each stage like a one-day classic as the potential to lose time on these tricky courses is so high. Having ridden the Fleche-Wallonne classic several times in my own career, I know the finishing climb of the Mur de Huy well. It only ramps up for the last 800m but it’s so steep (the steepest bit of tarmac on this year’s Tour), time gaps are as a big as they are for major alpine climbs 30 times as long. Chris Froome and Team Sky continued their run of success on the slope of the Mur de Huy when he finished second and took time out of all his rivals.”
What happens next?
“For us, we’ll leave the zone technique (the area around the start that 3000 press call home each day) at about 8pm and head for the next finish town, hopefully in time to get something to eat. With 7 sections of cobblestones near the end, it promises to be even more spectacular than the racing we’ve seen so far…if that’s possible!”
Keep your eyes peeled to see what the next few stages of the Tour de France have in store – we’re sure there’ll be plenty of excitement to look forward to over the next few weeks!
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Feeling inspired to head out on your bike this summer? Great news – you could be in with a chance to win a fantastic Boardman CX Team Bike! Click here to enter, but be quick – the competition ends at midnight on Tuesday 14th July!
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