Bragging rights in the family Tour de France game have been few and far between in the last few years – I was Lanterne Rouge last year if I recall. Still – onwards and upwards. What do we think about … Continue reading →
Are the French coming? A watchful crowd looks south across the rolling fields of Wallonia, just before the road to Brussels enters Waterloo. An invasion is expected soon. It is 18th June 1815 and the French army is about to … Continue reading →
100 years of the Yellow Jersey. 50 years since the first Tour de France win for Belgian legend Eddie Merckx. So the Tour de France has come to us in Belgium again, this time taking over the capital for a … Continue reading →
The sun is glaring down, baking the land in Belgium and Northern France. The landscape is fluffy clouds and blue skies above golden fields which have begun to be harvested early because of the heatwave. But across one set of … Continue reading →
There’s no finer way to plan a trip to France than to watch a few hours coverage of the Tour de France. The tourist authorities of each region pay a small fortune to have the helicopters fly overhead and capture … Continue reading →
In my previous post I congratulated myself on finding a cheap apartment in a fantastic location in Milan (for that was the city in the images). However I was not there by accident. I chose it because it was near … Continue reading →
I am sick to death of mindlessly browsing the web to read other people’s anger about English football and Brexit.
Instead its time to mindlessly browse the web looking for minor details in the stage rankings of the Tour de France.
Our annual competition for bragging rights has been extended to a wider circle so we can trash talk each other as much as is needed to lift the gloom. Our glorious league of 7 is nothing compared to the 33,000 who have signed up to the whole competition, but of course it is the only one that matters.
One of the amusing diversions at our recent Bike2work event at Eurobike was guessing what bikes the company CEOs would ride. In theory it was a bit complicated. They all had to drag themselves out of hotels all over the … Continue reading →
When Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 I rode round the UK countryside like I had won the race myself. And it inspired one of my personal favourite posts on idonotdespair.com “On Sunday I shall wear yellow”.
It is one of favourites because I had so much fun writing it and I was on a euphoric high of fandom. Back in the summer of 2012 not so many people read my blog, but it did get a link in the weekly CTC newsletter so it was probably my record number of views at the time, therefore I was even more chuffed. And any excuse to listen to the wonderful Jenny Joseph poem I plagiarised is a good one.
Then in 2013 Chris Froome became the second British winner so I could don the yellow again, this time to ride out with my new Belgian cycling club which caused some smiles.
It is almost inconceivable that since 2012 there have been 3 British winners of the tour after 100 years of occasional flurries and few stage wins.
So on Sunday I feel I have no choice – it is out with the faded CTC yellow top again to celebrate Froome’s victory. A bit smug perhaps in the land of Eddie Merckx, the poor old Belgians haven’t had too much joy in the tour of late although Greg van Avermaet and Serge Pauwels gave them some good moments and the Belgian teams Lotto and Etixx have won a lot of stages.
But Sunday will be our day. On Sunday I shall wear yellow. Now I wonder if Cavendish can do something special on the Champs?
It is now four days since I cycled to Huy to watch the Tour de France stage finish at the summit of the legendary Muy de Huy. In the way of these things the excitement of the Tour has rolled … Continue reading →
There may be lawns to mow, bikes to ride and repair, dog to walk, emails to send.
But the week before the Tour de France the annual challenge has been issued and only one task matters. Building a Tour de France team to beat my brothers and my son.
This is a great way of bringing some extra entertainment to our watching, even if we really want the British riders to do well we can add some spice by hoping for a daily win. Not that I need any incentive, it looks like the most exciting Tour in years.
So here, unveiled for the first time is this year’s I Do Not Despair roster over on www.velogames.com , our chosen platform.
On Monday I will be reporting in from the top of the Muy de Huy as the race goes for an exciting stage finish at the top of the climb used for the annual Fleche Wallonne classic race in the spring time. With temperatures over 30 degrees at the moment it might be a long hot ride down there, but I have had this day in my diary all year, so I’m going, cooked or not.
Not much prospect of a Belgian winner on the Mur as Philippe Gilbert is injured, but apparently they are expecting over 100,000 spectators to this little town for the finish in this ampitheatre of sport.
We have just returned from a weekend in South Yorkshire which was looking stunning in autumn sunshine. Not quite Peak District, not quite Yorkshire Dales, the hills and valleys west of Barnsley around Penistone are just as stunningly beautiful for … Continue reading →
I think it is time to dust off the colours again, this time to celebrate Chris Froome which is going to make it an extraordinary double for those of us who have endured years of cycling starvation. My Belgian club probably won’t even register the colour change, but I will know.
I cannot bring myself to celebrate the fact that he carries the brand of the loathsome Murdoch empire but I can’t help but enjoy yet another three weeks of wheeled chess on the roads.
Two more good reasons too – firstly family bragging rights in the in Fantasy Tour de France competition – sorry boys, eat my shorts! Maillot Jaune pour moi.
Finally even if Froome was not riding under the British flag (Belgian TV will only call him “the white Kenyan”) I think his win is cause for celebration among another special group of cyclists. Let’s hear it for the nodding donkeys, the people whose style doesn’t leave the purists humming, the upright, those of us who cannot bend like a hairpin and lie sleekly over our handlebars.
Not for us the smooth style of Wiggins or the low frontal area of Cavendish, the silky descending of Nibali.
I was prepared to take Dan Martin as our hero for the year, but let’s face it, Chris Froome is for us.