I was so fortunate to receive an invitation from a friend to watch the arrival of the peloton of the 100th Tour de France in Paris on 21 July 2013.
I sat in the Tribune Présidentielle a few seats behind Eddy Merckx and Greg Lemond and savoured the festive atmosphere of the final day of the Tour which saw Chris Froome winning the Yellow Jersey and a young, relatively unknown Colombian rider named Nairo Alexander Quintana, the biggest surprise of the Tour, come in second to Froome and win the Polka Dot Jersey and the White Jersey. The weather was warm and pleasant which made for a perfect evening to watch the riders zoom up and down the Champs Elysees ten times.
There were thousands of people lining the Champs Elysees and another extra bonus — I got to ride in one of the cars that follow the riders!
This is the first evening arrival on the Champs Elysees. During the awards ceremony, we were also treated to a spectacular light show projected upon the Arc de Triomphe. Because it was the 100th anniversary, the Tour officials had Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, all winners of several Tours, appear as special guests on the podium with Froome. The team award went to Saxo Bank. Green Jersey winner was Peter Sagan (beating Mark Cavendish, the favourite).
Finally I took home a lovely Tour de France 100th anniversary candle that smells divine. Its scent reminds me very much of Diptyque’s Figuier (Fig) candle. What a memorable day!