Monday, July 09, 2007

Le Tour

The daily showers finally subsided for a while, as if to honour the first visit of the Tour de France in London. And this great race was given the best London has to offer: a route among all the best-known sights that provided a magnificent backdrop for the riders; a route through the parks of central London so that as many people could come and watch.

It was a magnificent event. According to estimates, over one million people gathered around the 7.9 km Proloque route on Saturday. And everyone agrees it went well: the race organisers, London officials, the police and spectators themselves.

The atmosphere was great, the crowd was cheering for each and every one of the 189 riders, from start to finish. There was a sense of excitement and awe as these great athletes flew by on their bicycles, at speeds that you can't imagine unless you actually see it live. TV doesn't manage to convey the speed, or the intensity of it, you have to live it to believe it.

The amazing thing was that there was no shoving or pushing in the crowds, no drunken idiots, intimidating or aggressive fans to be seen, no need for the police or the organisers to take any other action but to walk around seeing how everything goes smoothly. Everyone was enjoying the sun and the event. This was London at its best. And this was also a great advertisement for the 2012 Olympics.

(Pic: The hometown favourite Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) sprinting to the finish line.)

No comments: