Monday 7 July 2014

The Tour de France in Huddersfield

Yesterday we carried our garden chairs to the nearest point of the Tour de France route and sat on the pavement (which would normally be a very odd thing to do) to wait for the race to pass by.   It was not a prime position, compared with the climbs, such as Holme Moss, so there was plenty of room for everyone.

We had quite a long wait before anything much happened (although every police motorbike or police car going past got a wave and a cheer), and then the publicity caravane came through.

The head of the caravanne - Y for Yorkshire
And finally the cyclists arrived.  At this point, there was a small breakaway group at the front and a couple of stragglers at the back, so it took a bit longer for them to pass than it might have.

The breakaway group

The peloton

Earlier, before anything happened, I walked along the route a little way to chat to friends and neighbours and to take a photo of our historic tram shelter (now a bus shelter) which has been refurbished for the Tour.

And after the cyclists had gone, we went home and watched the live broadcast of the rest of the stage - over Holme Moss, and on to Sheffield.

After the stage was over, we went to a soiree at the house of some friends, Margaret and John, who are keen followers of the Tour de France.  They were thrilled that today's route went past the end of their road, and held the party to celebrate it.  There was French-Yorkshire fusion food (boeuf bourguignon and Yorkshire pudding), French wine and Yorkshire beer, and appropriate condiments (Dijon mustard and Henderson's Relish).

Margaret and John have a collection of Tour de France memorabilia (i.e., the freebies distributed by the publicity vehicles in the caravane) that they have acquired over the years, and had put them on display for the occasion.

The mantelpiece arrangement featured the highly-prized green foam hands (acquired 2008), handed out by PMU, sponsors of the green jersey.

(Click to enlarge)
Another gem of the collection is a model of the Astra satellite, from 2002.

A hat from Champion supermarkets was acquired in 2008 - at that time Champion were sponsors of the polka dot jersey.  They have since been taken over by Carrefour, who now sponsor it. 

Credit Lyonnais sponsor the yellow jersey; the musette, or cloth lunch bag, is also from 2008.

It is a unique collection, of incalculable value I am sure, and was displayed to very high standards (says my household museum curator). 

So that's the end of a really good weekend:  the weather was kind, the Tour was exciting, and the Yorkshire countryside looked wonderful.  And there had been such a lot of effort put into arranging other events and displays before and during the Tour - it was all worthwhile and made it even more special.  

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