We popped over to Guildford to watch the first pass through the town of the Tour of Britain 2012 on its 8th and last stage. The riders whooshed through town twice – the second pass was to the final finish line of the day, and the Tour.
What crowds! Sport cycling has certainly become very popular in the UK!
We found a spot right outside the Marks & Spencer store about half-way up the cobblestoned High Street, where the riders would ascend to the finish later. The barriers were tilted, and the kids took a literal front row seat under them, peering out as the riders whooshed (sorry, that word again but that is what they did) by.
First to race by were all the police on their motorcycles – it seemed like every motorcycle cop in Hampshire was joining in on the fun!
At last, four riders emerged and raced up as fast as we go down a similar steep hill in our town!
The main peleton group followed about 3 minutes later going equally as fast up the street and into the countryside for the rest of the race.
After the 79 riders passed, we wandered up towards the finish line to watch a fun set of races that saw various business leaders and media folks – all with a sporty inclination – have a go at racing up the same hill.
One of the riders in that fun ride was Stuart Block of Zamboo Bikes. He was riding his own hand-made creation: a bicycle made out of bamboo from Zambia!
It was to be a few hours until the Tour riders came back on their final loop and to the finish, so we decided – with kids getting a bit restless – to catch any earlier train home (they only came every 2 hours on Sundays) and watch the finish on ITV4.
THE WINNERS ARE…
And what a finish: two British winners!! Mark Cavendish won today’s stage; and the rider with the best time total from all 8 stages, and so the winner of the Tour of Britain 2012, was also a British person, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke!
The crowds were phenomenal – surprising and delighting many in the Tour and especially those in the media. ITV even decided that due to the popularity – mainly since Wiggins won the Tour de France but also because of the British gold medals at the Olympics and Paralympics in cycling – that it would show the Tour live.
A short video of the whoosh, and the bamboo bike is on YouTube HERE, or watch below: