Something was afoot in London and surrounds yesterday. What was this? The citizens of leafy Surrey were unable to get out of their drives to buy a pint of milk, as they had done every Sunday morning for fifteen years! But hey ho, one man’s nightmare-inducing civic outrage was another girl’s bliss, for there were cyclists in town! Lots of them! A couple of hundred thousand enlightened beings were as excited as me…well, almost, and lined the route with heart warming fervour for the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, unofficially known as the Olympic test race. It pitted the best of Britain’s trade teams against a plethora of national teams, packed with stars, on a 130km route, identical to the 2012 Olympic course, minus an extra seven laps of Box Hill, and it was won by CAVISVERYFAST. Well blow me down.
Yours truly toddled down to central London at an earlier hour than is commonly regarded as sensible, armed with camera and a charming smile (no Stern Librarian Glare at the weekend), with the intention to woo the pros into posing for photographs. Bizarrely, there was next to nobody in the team area apart from me, and I had them all at the mercy of my lens. Here is what I saw.
The first person I met? Yes, for reals. I had him all to myself! No throng of girls, no mass of children with autograph books, no pack of gawping fans. Really, it does pay to get up early and make the effort to be there at 7.30am!
He looks familar, no? Cricket!!!
When the riders had departed, I went to watch them roll out towards Hyde Park Corner. My pictures of moving bikes aren't that great, and I thought I'd rather watch instead of taking too many. I think Millsy plans to put up his race piccies, so hopefully his post will compliment mine. Here, though, is the finish line:
I wandered off to Starbucks/shops/park for a couple of hours, then returned to the 500m mark to watch the finish. It was obvious who was going to win at this point, as Cav was 3rd wheel with two leadout men ahead of him. Game over. Pity the pack was split by a crash though, and we didn't get to experience the thrill of a full bunch sprint. After the lead group, most of the rest came in very casually. The Belgians in particular, were practically holding hands. I reserved a special cheer for Kristian House, the last rider to surrender from the break, king of the mountains (well, hills) and all round dude. After this, I ran back to the team area for more photo ops. Startlingly, it was still remarkable devoid of fans. Perhaps other people didn't have the sens to ask a steward when they couldn't find it? Oh well, I wasn't complaining!
The French boys were very playful. Their mechanics were the real flirts though.
Dom furtively mops his underarms. For the record, no, I didn't ask him 'that' question...
All dressed, he puts out the vibe
Poor Diego Ulissi seems to have something in his eye, while Eros has a serious point to convey, and Oscar munches contentedly.
Can we do all this again next year? What's that? We can? Woohoo!