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!
The Tour de France is celebrating its 100th anniversary by starting in Corsica. It’s strange that the Tour never visited Corsica. It’s been to other countries but not to the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. Click on the photo to see a short video of the Tour de France riders winding their way through the stunning mountainous countryside in Stage 3 from Ajaccio to Calvi.
Here’s a funny video of the Schleck brothers driving around Eindhoven, Netherlands (the home of Philips Electronics) in a DAF car, which was an automobile made in the Netherlands decades ago. They almost get arrested by the police and struggle with the primitive controls of the car.
Cadel Evans has won the 2011 Tour de France after beating Andy Schleck in the time trial stage one day before the peloton was scheduled to ride to Paris. The finish was quite dramatic because many people expected Andy to win this year. However, Cadel showed himself to be the more complete rider by doing well in the mountain stages AND the time trial.
Mark Cavendish, the best sprinter in cycling today, won the green jersey after also winning the final stage in Paris.
Altogether it was a very exciting Tour de France although the media was too obsessed by the rivalry between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck. Andy complained about the downhill courses and Contador bragged about what he was going to do in the climbs. I just got sick and tired of these two guys blabbing about what they were going to do to the other.
Cadel Evans kept to himself, rode brilliantly, executed his plan and ended up with the yellow jersey. It’s better to shut up and ride.