Helsy33 and Albertina went stalking the ToB on stage 8 yesterday. I took a different hunting option and laid in wait...
Warning: this a photo heavy post!
I arrived early and got a spot right on the barrier a hundred meters from the finish line with a good view of the big screen. As I arrived the Rapha Condor boys team was having its photo taken with Sir Paul Smith - fashion designer, new sponsor and one-time wannabe bike racer
Kristian House, Sir Paul Smith and Dan Craven
That over riders started rolling up to the sign-on some in groups others in ones and twos. A few took their time chatting to mates, taking in the sights while others were much more business like. I took hundreds of photos but have picked out the ones I liked or perhaps the female members of PdC will appreciate
An intense looking Euskie - Javier Aramendia I think
Renaud Dion (who spent about 5 minutes just gawping at the big screen taking it all in)
Rapha Condor - nice kit, nicer bikes...
Geraint Thomas wearing the intermediate sprint jersey
Oscar Pujol Muñoz (I think)
Two Aussies, Graeme Brown and Simon Clarke - GB was riding his bike like that all the way to the start
Kim Kirchen - with his game face on - or perhaps he's auditioning for the next Terminator movie?
And Pippo - whose kit did look very cool it must be said
With the riders signed on they lined up and the team cars came onto the course. By now the crowds were pretty big along the finishing straight
Then the race started. You can read about what happened elsewhere. Being close to the barriers it was hard to get good photos - either I was gonna hit a rider with my camera or just get a blur as they went passed. Nonetheless a few came out OK
Kristian House about to attack on one of the early laps - or just checking himself out on TV!
Thomas de Gendt attacking (never!)
This one I like because it summarises the day nicely for me - a speeding bunch and gawping crowds (me included)
Dan Craven, Nico Roche and Ed Clancy in a break
Not a great photo this one but I love the look on Dan Craven's face just after the break was caught - that's what trying to escape the pro peloton feels like (Nico Roche looks OK though)
And then the race was over: the riders rolled back to their buses and I caught a shot of two Halfords Bikehut riders messing about for the crowds
I watched the presentations but managed to mainly take pictures of the back of kids on their parents shoulders... so I wandered off with my fill of cycling into central London off and to a party. Only a few streets away it was as though nothing had happened though there was the odd sign for he cognoscenti