…I just took a ride. (Ok it probably doesn’t refer to a bike but it’s a classic song)
From BBC News dated Monday 7th July 2014
Le Tour horrible – By Your BBC Yorkshire Correspondent
After being beset with problems on days 1 and 2 The Tour De France finally decended into complete chaos following the 3rd stage, between Cambridge and London. I kept a brief diary of the events of those 3 days which are summarised below.
Day 1 – Leeds to Harrogate
Not the most auspicious beginning for the English legs of the famed Tour De France. Early favourite for the yellow jersey, Chris Froome, had an accident when he crashed into the 36 bus as he left a drive thru Starbucks. Thankfully Chris was OK but his Latté suffered irreparable spillage. Chris was bailed to appear in court as he couldn’t produce insurance. On a more positive note Starbucks will be allowed to reclaim the tax paid on the Latté, Oh hang on…
Three riders from USA team “Garmin Sharp” got hopelessly lost after entering the wrong details into their sat nav. one was rescued on the M1 but the other 2 arrived some time later at the council offices in the London Borough of Harrow. They are on their way back as I write this. All of the riders stayed at the Harrogate Premier Inn prior to travelling to York the next day and had plenty of good Yorkshire hospitality and black pudding at the Beefeater pub.
Day 2 – York to Sheffield
The race failed to start on time this morning as nearly 3/4 of the riders we late arriving at the start. Apparently they All set out early to get the train from Harrogate to York but Northern Rail stafff refused to allow them to travel. Clearly someone should have told them that cycles are not allowed on commuter trains. A further delay ensued as the starter had to wait for riders from Russia’s Katusha Team who had tried to defect to East Riding. The latest series of BBC’s “Traffic Cops” was filming just outside York today. Over zealous Officers tried to arrest members of Team Sky for using mobile phones while riding. The police accepted their excuse that they were only listening to their opponents voicemails but warned them as to their future conduct. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep Cycling Team, from Belgium, were cautioned for the excessive length of their team name.
Day 3 – Cambridge to London
Having learned from their day one problems the riders all travelled to Cambridge last night and they were ready on time this morning. Also, given that day 4 of the Tour was starting in France many riders had decided not to stop at the London finish. Instead they would continue straight on to Dover to catch the Ferry. The welcoming sight of Cambridges Eurpoean championship winning maypole dancers greeted them as the hit the road, heading for the metropolis. As the peloton left Cambridge both Italian teams were controversially disqualified for having their V neck sweaters incorrectly slung over their shoulders. After a fairly mundane ride to London we witnessed a most incredible sight. Never before had so many Barclays hire bikes crossed Westminster Bridge at such a speed. Mr John Williams, a solicitor from Surrbiton, was both pleased and surprised to receive the Yellow Jersey. “I was just doing my usual journey to work”, he said, “and I did wonder why there were more Boris bikes than usual on the bridge”. As promised, the riders passed up on a drink with Boris and headed straight for the picturesque (according to the Kent tourist office) Port of Dover. However they didn’t allow for the vagaries of the French unions who had decided to strike in a dispute over lunchtime snail allowances. So the Police instigated Operation Stack and the entire peloton were held in a queue on the hard shoulder of the M2. Two hours later, for the first time in its history, Le Tour became a biathlon. Bored of waiting, every rider carried their bike to the coast and swam the channel. Pausing only to offer David Walliams a lift as they swam past. Not since the 1940’s has the french coast seen such activity.
And finally: French organisers, already conscious of objections to having a French Tour outside of France, promised radical changes. From 2015 the race will be entirely in France. It will be sponsored by Sanofi S.A. a Paris based pharmaceutical company who have appointed Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis in “joint” charge of promoting the event.