The Cambridge branch of Waitrose has landed itself in hot Essential Ironing Water by underselling the Tour de France in a warning about disruption likely to be caused by the race.
On July 7 Cambridge will host the start of the last of the Tour’s three days in the UK as it heads to a London finish before returning home to France.
The stage route heads south from the centre of Cambridgedown the A1309, and turns left on to the A1301 almost at the store’s entrance, so anyone who finds themselves in need of an emergency restock of black summer truffle or hard-boiled, ready-peeled quail eggs may just have to suffer. Or — the horror! — go to Sainsbury’s instead.
— 4 Little People Ltd (@4_LittlePeople) June 30, 2014
Warning shoppers of the likely problems a sign at the store said: “Just to let you know...
“Due to a local sporting event a number of roads will be distrupted around our branch causing difficulty shopping on Monday 7 July.
“We will be open as usual but ui may find it easier to do your shopping earlier in the week.”
Calmer heads might take this with a pinch of Anglesey sea salt and see it as understated, tongue-in-cheek British humour, but that hasn’t stopped local councillor Ian Manning from taking it seriously.
According to the BBC, Manning, who in November called for the council to offer workers flexible hours so they could watch the race, said that calling the Tour a local sporting event was “bizarre”.
“Given that Cambridge is the UK’s number one cycling city and the Tour de France is the world’s number one cycling event - if Waitrose believes this to be a ‘local sporting event’ the phrase never knowingly understated springs to mind, let alone undersold,” he said.
“To have the race in the city is just incredible - describing it as a local event is bizarre to say the least.”
Mick Draper, president of the Cambridge Cycling Club, said: “It’s totally the wrong way to describe it.
“It’s an international event that’s been all over the world, so you can’t call it a local event.”
A spokesman for Waitrose, said: "We're very sorry that we got it wrong."
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.