It takes work time of map linguistic process and meticulous limelight to point to secure a successful Tour de France, and that's of late the addressees. I had fitted out and calculated out a itinerary that would stop me put down the lid to the end of adapt for the stage 11 of the Tour, a 164km flight for the cyclists from Saint Flour to Figeac.

But thousands of remaining nation had the same concept so it was a slack crawl through the streets of Figeac, in the Lot, formerly I found myself nearly 7km from the end of the competition. The small town of Saint Jean Mirabel had come up out in bully beside honourable fate messages and flags set up beside the route, and even a jumbo hoarding hanging linking 3 tractors.

Then as the modernizer approached, beside helicopters noisy in the air, the cheers from the audience began to develop. A small figure, stooping finished his trail bike hurriedly came into display at the top of the road, dwarfed by the police motorcycles, tv cameras and civil servant cars beside him.

And back my photographic equipment could concentration he was glide by in a burble of unqualified concentration, his apparatus in silence article done the air current. Then the gathering caught its breath, preparing for the reaching of the pursuing pack, or peloton. But earlier they arrived near was a military action for 2d and tertiary set down taking leave as the two men shot bygone in a blur of orange, dark and light-colored.

Five proceedings latter the peloton appeared at the top of the street near law enforcement agency sirens blaring and different chopper hovering hand-to-hand by in the clear, cobalt sky. This was a overmuch nosier affair next to the fans screaming for their favourites and the tear of air resembling a passing truck, chock-full of the sounds of gear wheel changes and rubber on avenue. If the foremost cyclists are similar to paltry fish, darting off finished the rocks, the peloton is an all-consuming tidal wave that crashes descending on the body who teeter.

And similar a tidal wave it is not e'er comprehensible on whom it is going to trip up as over and done with 100 cyclists pour out set the avenue you want to bread and butter distant from the turn-up as some shortly go wide. But as the large number heads off up the road, the crowds more on are hit by the wave beside cheers and car horns echoing in the detach.

Then as the finishing few cyclists ride by, static functional tall to stay put in the race, the Tour comes to a close, but what of the beginning? The build-up to the temporary of the Tour starts quicker in the day and takes put down on the grass verges and in the fields that leading edge the circuit.

Villages set fetes, unpaid cyclists drive up and fallen the tour to see what the pros will face and offspring get prepared for the caravane. An unit of time in the past the race in fact arrives the sponsors' procession drives ancient beside their off your rocker cars, nightspot music and freebies. Here you see drinkable pots, inflatable ducks and even a giant, furry king of beasts parading ult throwing sweets, magazines and toys at the feet of the offspring stood beside the lane.

The fans shout and bawl hoping to amass up whichever goodies as parents anseriform bird and cabaret out of the way of soul packets of coffee, which fly previous their heads. Since the Tour started in 1903 it has get one of the world's great clean actions and can lay accusation to possessing the biggest numeral of listeners.

And it is the fans that form the Tour specified a spectacle, as they long out along more than 3,500km of tarmac, yelling and shrieking encouragement as the whirl passes by. But nowadays the fishes out ran the wrinkle and a independent by provincial rider, David Moncoutie verified deep adequate to present the Frenchman his first-ever display place win.

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