Tour de France comes to Les Méditerranées
Crowds of people talking excitedly filled the streets, everyone headed in the same direction for the same reason. Flags of different countries were adorned on people’s faces; the crowds grew thicker as we approached the N112. Tour de France was passing through Marseillan Plage.
By 3pm troops of tourists and locals lined the streets; all making sure they had a good spot before they settled their selves down for the wait. After 15 minutes, booming music and the sound of car horns could be heard approaching. What followed was a half hour of the most surreal advertising I, for one, have ever seen. Large, decorated vans with promotion staff harnessed to the back dancing and shouting to the eager crowds. Merchandise from sponsorship companies were thrown from the moving vans into the over excited herds of people. Kids threw their selves to the floor for key rings, grannies fought with one another for jelly beans and parents used their off spring shamelessly to retrieve the best of the finds.
As the crowds began to calm down from the excitement, people began to look up into the sky, signalling into the distance. Overhead a helicopter could be seen; a mere dot at first, as it began to get closer the anticipation in the crowds began to grow once more. I am told that these are the helicopters that will be following the competitors, broadcasting it all over the world. The helicopter was soon above us. Motor bikes suddenly sped past and behind them the first two cyclists of the Tour de France. The crowd erupted into cheers, it didn’t matter if the country the riders were from didn’t correlate with the colours on the individual’s faces, everyone yelled out in support of this great feat.
Another few minutes of restlessness, a lone cycler appeared out of nowhere and received a bigger cheer than even the front runners. The first helicopter disappeared in the direction of Cape D’Adge just in time for another to arrive. Everyone was prepared this time, cameras out, flags stretched out proudly. Again the motor bikes flew past, followed by a huge group of cyclists. The crowds scream like teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert.
Then it is finished. The anticipation and build up, evaporated, leaving in its place a sense of awe. This has been a fleeting moment of excitement for all of us, but for those men who we have all turned up to see, that was just one minute out of a long, exhausting journey.