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The Tour in Tours

I am not sure what the most interesting part of the Tour de France was: the people or the sprinters.

I have never really followed the Tour de France because it never comes to Nantes, where I used to spend most of my summer holidays as a kid. My interest in bicycling is fairly limited and like most French, I see the Tour de France as a summer non-event—it is always here, in the background, but I rarely pay attention to it unless there is a newsworthy event.

But Feng suggested we travel to Tours to catch it and I didn’t mind. I like being a tourist in France, I get to see another side of the country I would typically ignore (or mock) as a local.

Once we arrived close to the finish line, we spotted different kinds of people. Real Tour fans with their flags (lots of British, a few Spanish, a few Australians) and sometime L’Equipe (the sports newspaper) under their arm; tourists like us who probably happened to be around Tours and figured it was a fun way to spend the day; local families who tried their best to catch the freebies distributed by the caravan (Free cookies! Free flag! Free t-shirt!).

The actual finish line was too crowded for us so we walked to a spot marking the last kilometre, and waited there. “Get your camera ready,” Feng advised. “It’s going to be over in a matter of seconds!”

He was right. By the time I clicked on the shutter, the sprinters had sprinted by. Good thing I had the right settings on! I had never realized how fast they were biking watching it on TV.

The crowd did all the right things: it cheered, applauded, screamed and yelled the name of possibly famous sprinters—I wouldn’t know who is who but I am sure some people did.

So, is the Tour de France a worthy event? Well, it was surprisingly fun. The crowd was pretty nice (this is not football, no hooligans here!) and fairly well-behaved. I hate the fact that the Tour is heavily sponsored (everything is branded, from the finish line to the bicycle tires, from the snacks to the water distributed) but it is a tradition in France and I actually admire anyone who can bike that fast and for that long.

You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.

The Tour in Tours
The Tour in Tours
L'Equipe Reader
L’Equipe Reader
Waiting for the Bus
Waiting for the Bus
The Tour
The Tour
Waiting and Cheering
Waiting and Cheering
Family Portrait
Family Portrait
Waiting
Waiting
Ice Cream Fans
Ice Cream Fans
Watching the Tour
Watching the Tour
Feeding the Crowd
Feeding the Crowd
Waiting
Waiting
Mark Cheering
Mark Cheering
Waiting
Waiting
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
The Race
After the Race
After the Race

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