Le Tour de France
This year was a milestone, a triumph, a year to celebrate for Australian Pride and Honour.
Today was the twenty first and final stage of the 2011 Tour de France.
It is the year that a true gentleman and good sport has taken out cycling’s highest honour – the yellow jersey for winning the 2011 Tour de France.
Our man, Cadel Evans, the oldest first time winner in the race’s history, stood proudly on the podium as the beautiful Australian-French songstress, Tina Arena, serenaded us with the Australian Anthem and tears welled up in our eyes and proud radiated from our hearts.
It was an emotional day for a small group of Aussie supporters each of us finding our way to Paris to watch the final stage of the Tour de France as the peloton completed the final stage of this year’s competition the traditional circuit of the Avenue Champs-Élysées.
We were on the 100m line of the sprint… the crowd was buzzing!
I was joined by probably the best possible company for this most wonderful of occasions – An Australian-French Professional Cyclist and former medical school buddy… so the heightened sense of emotion and insight was thrilling, not to mention the nostalgia after having not seen each other in a long time.
So simply the day was perfect… and the weather was cooperating too after what had been not such great “SUMMER?” weather recently.
As usual the Australians had some fun with the event and we spotted the inflatable Kangaroos out in force!
The support vehicles were incredible too, laden with expensive equipment they paraded down the Champs following the peloton.
We could have been closer, ideally, but the photos did some justice to the spactacle of these elite sportsmen racing right beside us.
I managed with a lot of hard-stretching and persistence, plus a little timing, to capture two beautiful images of the days hero! (see the intensity and effort in his face on the left!)
Below you can see the entire peloton in sequence beginning (rightmost) to end (leftmost) – it was a tightly packed rainbow of bikes and lycra.
Once the 8 laps had finished the ceremony began right at the other end of the Champs and although we moved quickly our view was obscured at best – thanks to a friend for these very important pictures!
As you can see from mine, we were at the back of the crowd with a tree in front of the screen and nevertheless I managed to get one or two highly zoomed numbers!
It’s nice how Aussies always stick together!