…Purely because of the pure scale that is the Tour in all its loud, shiny & brash glory – the crowds were enormous, the anticipation (for the Brits especially) was immense, the speed and athleticism were superb, the atmosphere was electric, the sun shone and everyone had a right royal time in and around this beautiful city’s greatest Landmarks.
The day unfolded as soon as we surfaced from the tube at Westminster into some of the biggest crowds the Tour will have ever seen outside Paris and the day just continued to impress as it went on. Here are the pictures to give a little taste of what will surely go down as a total success on all fronts, and a real benchmark for future Gran Depart prologues.
The Crowds were huge around the Palace.
Great Family fun, BUT not everyone entered the Party spirit – Mum you could have made an effort.
The crowds line the entire 8km course.
Mikey Rogers was trying out some of his sponsor’s products and gave PEZ towers a quick call……
…..sorry Michael you’ve dialed incorrectly.
As anticipated, the final podium places came from the later starters and although a slight headwind was coming up Whitehall it didn’t seem to slow a certain Swiss from stamping his mark on proceedings with the only sub 9 minute ride of the day.
Many people’s favourite for the overall, Valverde, failed to stake his claim today. I reckon that TT thang has got to get a bit better and soon, but fortunately for Valverde (or maybe unfortunately if he falls down again) – it’s a long road to Paris.
And he’s off – in three weeks time Kloden could well be the man, did he play it perfect today? He might have sorted out team leadership issues and made sure he was the best of the rest behind Cancellara (who has to work defending Yellow) all in just over 9 minutes.
The crowd loved big George Hincapie and he seemed to be enjoying himself on the start ramp throwing them his water bottle…but ouch, clock those veins on his calf – that’s a lot of KMs over the years.
It was not Dave Millar’s day today, but he seemed chilled at the end hooking up with another old yellow jersey wearer with a few more years on the clock Bernard Thevenet.
The crowd were behind Bradley Wiggins from the start and his ride was quality- but just short of a podium place in his hometown – gutted, springs to mind.
The ultimate in TT technology was everywhere today ….except at the UCI check, where a very lo-tech cardboard template is used to insure riders obey the rules!
…and the good old squat test is used to test Saddle to BB ratio for this Trek at the DiscoCheck (sorry it has been a long day).
The race itself was always going to be fantastic and the party spirit from the crowd must have been a huge motivator for the riders, as from the first rider off the noise never subsided for nearly three hours. With five homegrown(ish) riders in the field, the Brits had loads to cheer at, but the good nature and to be honest lack of knowledge (as to who was who), for most spectators meant that all riders got a massive roar all along the 8km.
Early starter “Vlad The Impaler” sported a sensational mullet to take eventual sixth on the day – and he just scares the cr@p out of me.
Not such a good day for Dave Zabriskie, touted as a potential top three, he failed to deliver and has just been told that Karpets had come in quicker…that’s nice of those TV blokes, let the man catch his breath before you kick him in the goolies.
On the other hand young Mark Cavendish looked slightly less chilled before climbing the ramp, and although no Prologue man I imagine he was feeling the weight of local expectation on his shoulders. Let’s hope his natural environment of the bunch sprint helps him ‘relax’ a bit at 40mph into Canterbury.