Steep hills and lots of lycra – Tour of Britain
Yesterday saw the much welcomed arrival of the Tour of Britain to Wales! The route of this race has not included Wales for a few years, so there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to get some shots of the riders. Being a spectator at a road race is a surreal experience, you arrive early to get a good spot and wait patiently, enjoying the build-up as the many support cars and police outriders pass through shortly before the helicopter and riders arrive….. and then they’re gone! A peleton of riders travelling at 25-30mph doesn’t take too long to pass you, all that’s left to do is pack up and try to find out who won. So with this in mind I headed for a steep section where they would at least be riding a little slower. Caerphilly Mountain was top of my list as it was the final climb of the day, the summit only being 5km from the finish.
I arrived just in time to abandon the car in one of the last available spaces on a grass bank, headed to a position just below the summit of the climb, and awaited the arrival of the riders in the glorious sunshine with hundreds of cycling fans.
It was fantastic to see the very talented Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) just ahead of race-leader Lars Boom (Rabobank). There was huge vocal support for the young rider from nearby Whitchurch. Geraint finished the stage in 12th place and remained in 2nd place overall, just 12 seconds behind Lars Boom.
Also featuring in this year’s Tour of Britain is Mark Cavendish (Team HTC Highroad). Cav is hot favourite for the 2012 Olympic Road Race, it was great to see him riding this event. Former national champion Roger Hammond (Team Garmin – Cervelo) rode well up Caerphilly Mountain eventually finishing in 64th place.
A great day on the mountain, let’s hope that the race organisers choose to come back to Wales next year!