Well, the Tour de France has left England. We have had great fun in Leeds with all the preparations in the weeks prior to the Le Grand Depart. Multi-coloured bicycles appeared in random places. City statues were suddenly adorned with yellow t-shirts. Bunting appeared seemingly out of nowhere. More importantly, various roads were repaired – something that has desperately been needed since winter!
The TV coverage showed Yorkshire at its best and its greenest. We were fortunate to have glorious weather (especially on the Saturday) and the crowds came out in force. The enthusiasm for the race was almost tangible. EVERYONE was talking about it. I was lucky enough to see the riders as they left Leeds city centre on their way to Harewood House for the official start. They were not racing as they passed by – well they were only going at about 25 mph – so I got a fantastic view of them. They were so close you felt you could put out a hand and touch them! I arrived early at my selected viewing point to get a good position. This did mean that I had over 2 hours to wait before the riders arrived but we were kept amused and the crowd was very good humoured. A couple of promotional “caravans” came along. Music was being played, souvenirs were thrown out of vehicles as they went past. In fact, if you weren’t careful, you were in danger of being hit by flying objects as they were vigorously hurled into the crowds! Police, ambulance, sponsors all came past both French and British. Every moving vehicle was greeted with great cheers from the crowd! The atmosphere was very lively and the anticipation grew as we waited for news that Le Grand Depart had officially started. Then suddenly they appeared! It was brilliant and well worth the wait! I very much doubt I will ever see anything like this again in my lifetime.
This photo was taken by my husband.