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November 03, 2017
I started with the intention of shooting the cycle racing during the Tour de France. Looking for some close-up action shots perhaps, or nice landscapes with the peloton rolling romantically past fields of sunflowers.
But the Tour organisers quite obviously hadn't taken my needs into account at all when deciding on the route for the 2017 Tour de France. The Col du Galibier didn't disappoint, but the Col de la Grand Colombier was a different matter. With kilometre after kilometre of tree-lined tunnels of trees, claustrophobic in the extreme, hopeless for photography, and not a lot of fun for the fans. The peloton just appeared from around the bend and you didn't get to see or even hear them coming.
For some, the excitement was just too much to take.
For others, the enthusiasm to stay up to date with the action was plain to see.
For true dedication look no further than the Tour de France. Where else in sport are fans taking their places up to a week before the action? All 45 seconds of it in this case. You won't find fans leaving here before the end, this isn't football, besides all the roads are closed for hours so you couldn't leave even if you wanted too.
Is it any wonder the cavalcade of sponsors with its almost unique combination of the crass to the very funny, are greeted with such overwhelming enthusiasm? For a long time, I didn't understand how the French especially could get so excited about a truck made to look like a tyre or someone dressed as a packet of chips?
A bunch of paid actors chucking sweets at you? Ok, I get the sweets thing, even I was grateful for the sweets on a couple of days when the food and water had long run out. But little tubes of glue?
Bostic to be precise. But there I go again, thinking glue is for sticking things together, others obviously have different uses - but it really didn't look like that kind of crowd.
I finally came to the conclusion the fans understood the sponsor's cavalcade meant, if not the end, at least the beginning of the end of this long torturous day was in sight. I know I did. The cavalcade runs between 30 and 45 mins ahead of the race, so it really was just a matter of time.
The Vittel water float sprayed everyone with high-pressure water hoses regardless if you wanted it or not. In this heat, it was welcome, the free bottles a godsend, and nobody seemed to mind in the least.
Not everyone was unhappy with the wait, some have stuff they need to do, and just know how to enjoy themselves no matter where they are. Besides, this is France and we still haven't had lunch.
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