I’ve disappeared from the radar for awhile because my photography has been taking a back seat to watching the Tour de France. It’s been 3 weeks of 2am bed-times, and although this wasn’t the first time I stayed up late over a period of weeks for a sporting event, this time it was completely worth it.
Why? Because for once the experience has been a remarkably positive. Not just because an Australian finally won the race, but because this year’s tour has been an event devoid of violence, cheating, and overt chest thumping – elements that are unfortunately all too common in big sports events.
It didn’t mean that it was without spectacle – how can it be with 21 days of hard riding over wind-blown coasts to snow capped peaks? There were sprints, break-aways, chases, perilous descents, exhausting ascents, and in the first week, lots of horrendous crashes. But what impressed me was that the spectacle didn’t rely on the negative – even drug busts were generally absent. Most commentators agree that it might be the ‘cleanest’ tour in a long time). And watching the final stage into Paris, it was obvious that the riders not only respected each other, but were even friends.
So many congratulations to Cadel Evans and his BMC team for quietly, determinedly, and most efficiently going about their business every day. His (and their) reward was being crowned winner on the Champs-Élysées.
Oh, and I didn’t even realise until later that it was Tina Arena belting out the national anthem, but it was a nice way to celebrate a momentous event.