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Anyone who’s been lucky enough to witness the Tour de France live will have first hand experience of the carnival fanfare that surrounds the race, day after day, in a blur of colour and motion as the circus moves from village to village en-route to Paris.
Towns transform overnight into a cycling spectacle transmitted to millions of television screens across the world. Streets lined with excited fans hours in advance as the carnival rolls by, throwing out sponsors merchandise, signifying that the show is about to begin. A deafening noise bellows from the circling helicopter hovering just metres above.
For a moment you feel part of the race, you can see the whites of the riders’ eyes, sweat beading off of their skin, pain written all over their faces. And then, in a second, it’s calm once more. For you at least, but not for the professionals. Their job isn’t done until they cross the finish line, ever wondered what that might feel like?
Fiets magazine (A Dutch cycling magazine) find out in this exclusive five page Tour de France stage preview, published in their June 2012 issue. Enjoy (if you are fluent in Dutch). If not, absorb the beautiful photography. It was a great ride!
Words by Michael Cotty.
Photos by Deborah Malin.