Tour De France – Le Grand Depart, Reeth, Yorkshire Dales
It was a real thrill to photograph and watch the opening stage of the Tour de France – known as le grand départ. I spent an amazing weekend in wonderful Reeth, a small village situated at the meeting point of the two most northerly of the Yorkshire Dales: Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, and about two thirds of the way around stage one of the tour. After a four mile hike up from Reeth, I eventually came to the summit of Grinton Moor where there were hundreds of spectators waiting for the riders to come up the gruelling hill. The atmosphere was amazing, with many keen TDF fans cycling up the hill earlier in the day to get a prime position and a birds eye view of the tour as it winds up the hill. A couple of hours before the tour passes through there is the ‘caravane publicitaire’, a procession of publicity vehicles throwing out freebies to the awaiting fans. Then the riders come through. Out of their saddles they pedal furiously up and over the hill. They are just 125 km into the tour, awaiting them over the next three weeks is another 3,500 km through the villages and towns of France, culminating in the final sprint through the Champs-Élysées in Paris.