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Le Tour 2011: The Finish Line
Sunday was one of those rare but wonderful moments where my professional sphere allowed me access to a very sacred experience for a cycling fan. I found myself at the finish line area on the Champs-Élysées editing photographs.
The excitement was palpable as it seems written in the stars that Mark Cavendish would indeed seal his destiny and rightfully command the elusive green jersey. An anxious wait came for the peloton to hit the Champs-Élysées for those fast and furious 8 laps to seal what can only be described as the crowning jewel to seal one of the most open and exciting editions of this grand tour for many, many years.
As the bunch thrashed down the Champs for the first time the place went crazy, even amongst the well versed press contained within my base, the ‘zone technique’. The elation and thunderous roar of many a rabid cycling fan cheered on these gladiators as they passed by at breakneck speed, with BMC at the head of the pack, rightfully leading the procession.
With two laps to go, I had been filling my boots taking some snaps and soaking up this fast and furious race, but then I received the first of many memory cards, and suddenly it was time to knuckle down and select the opening images of the stage that would be filed out across the globe. The yellow jersey photographed taking the corner by the Arc de Triomphe never fails to impress.
However, the image we were all waiting for was that one of Cavendish powering across the line. If he won the stage it would indeed be a great day for our team as well as his. I prayed Cavendish would pull it off and we would get the photographic feast anticipated.
The team cars followed the peloton at an alarmingly fast pace. The race whipped itself into a frenzy, Ben Swift leading a breakaway group that managed to chip 45 seconds on their chasers. The Peloton wound it up, becoming more organised with each kilometre passing. HTC swiftly shepherded Mark Cavendish to the front whilst the break was pulled back.
The Manx Missile delivered the goods, and a textbook launch out from Renshaw’s wheel saw him beat Eddy Boassan Hagen and seal a place among cycling’s great sprinters. The finish line pictures came thick and fast. What a glorious sight to see Cavendish grimacing towards greatness whilst Renshaw salutes the sky several places behind.
Opposite the press zone was the BMC hospitality enclosure, full of friends and family of the team. Each reveller dressed in the red and black jersey, and upon the final lap, each and every person pulled on a special T shirt, creating a rapturous sea of yellow.
What a finalé. What a Tour.
- Stylish, creative, sharp? We all know a sartorial city rider that can be tricky to buy for. See our guide for hints → http://t.co/dul9phwMoX
- Who's excited for snowy racing #inbend this weekend? We brought tshirts and coffee for the weekend.… http://t.co/aYYPjQEXTG
- @playa_mansa Sorry, somehow missed this. Our backpack is great for general use. Most of us here use it both on and off the bike.
- @TheRaceRadio A man experienced in sheep aerodynamics, perhaps. → http://t.co/4ysrDy5bie
- The most recent Rapha Gentlemen’s Race took place in Adelaide with 18 teams lining up for the rolling 160km route. → http://t.co/ZQ3Dzz0NEX
- @andersmagnus Hi Anders, there’s been a delay unfortunately, but thanks for being patient. It will be out as soon as possible.
- We're proud to present one of our favourite films this year, so put some headphones on and enjoy. View the film → http://t.co/B2BXnE3JuY
- Congratulations to yesterday’s Alpe d'Quiz winner Khamarul Rejab who receives a Team Sky bundle. Today's prize draw → http://t.co/h4frOXDYma
- RT @chrishoy: Ok, I'm going to make the call now, and it's a big call, but I reckon @Ed_Clancy will break the World kilo record at the end …
- @Barry8012 @RaphaCycleClub You’re most welcome Simon, thanks for your feedback.