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Scale of support for race leaves impression on Geraint Thomas and others, but reckless fans an issue +Holme Moss has new Strava KOM

The beauty of Yorkshire and the enthusiasm of the huge crowds that have greeted the Tour de France this weekend have made a huge impression on the riders taking part in the race – but a number have hit out against the ‘selfie’ trend that they say puts themselves, and fans, at risk.

First, the positive reactions. Estimates now are that as many as 2.5 million people may have watched each of the two stages, leading race director Christian Prudhomme to describe the Grand Depart a the best in the Tour’s history.

The riders too were impressed by the size of the crowds, with the Press Association quoting Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas saying: "It was unbelievable at times. Going up Holme Moss I had goosebumps. It was amazing.”

AG2R rider Samuel Dumoulin was likewise impressed by the sheer number of spectators, describing today’s stage as “incredible” and “colossal.” 

On his personal blog he wrote: “There were people everywhere, even on the descents. It was like Alpe d’Huez for 200 kilometres.”

He noted that he had seen no “overspill or major problem, with spectators better organised and penned in than on the previous day.”

NetApp Endura’s Zak Dempster compared the atmosphere to that of one of his home country’s biggest sporting events, saying yesterday on Twitter: “I imagine that's what walking onto the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground] on [Australian Rules football] grand final day is like, but we walked through the MCG for 200km. Thank you Yorkshire!”

Today, he added: “Real solid stage today, Yorkshire has been crazy. Never in my life have I seen crowds like that! #tdf”

And Garmin-Sharp rider Andrew Talansky said: “What a day to start the Tour! Never seen so many people out on the roads. Thank you Yorkshire for starting us off in grand style!”

Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin, who helped Marcel Kittel win yesterday’s opening stage, also likened the experience to being in a sports ground: “What. A. Day. Winning after riding 190 km through a crowded stadium! Thank you Yorkshire! #yelloooow”

Riders hit out at selfies

As we reported earlier today, following yesterday’s opening stage a number of riders including Chris Froome and Fabian Cancellara had urged spectators to give riders more room.

There were similar calls after today’s stage from York to Sheffield, won by Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali, with some blaming the ‘selfie’ phenomenon for being responsible for people putting themselves in the line of the riders with no regard for safety.

Thomas said: “The worst thing is when people have got their back to the peloton taking selfies.

"There were a few. They don't see us coming, they're stood in the road and it's dodgy.

"It's the new pain in the arse. They were just stood in the gutter.

"They don't realise we use every part of the road. There are a lot of us and we use every inch.

"If you're on the front (of the peloton) you can see them but if you're two back you nearly hit them.

"If you want to go and do that, go and sit in a tree. There's not much racing on British roads and people don't understand how fast we're going and how close we get.

"There have been too many accidents with riders hitting spectators. We don't want to see that but it could easily happen."

His appeal was echoed by BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen, who on Twitter described the behaviour of selfie-taking spectators as "A dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity.

"Standing [in] the middle of the road with [your] back turned while 200 cyclists come at you, just to take a selfie. #think #TDF2014”

He added. "That being said, I love the crowds and thank you for your support. But please give us room."

The problem isn’t so much the selfie as such – and official #TDFSelfie hashtag has been trending on Twitter, where you can even find race director Christian Prudhomme in a selfie with Welcome to Yorkshire’s Gary Verity – but rather, the potential consequences of taking one while the race is in progress.

Some teams have been encouraging fans to send in Tour-themed selfies, and Tinkof-Saxo have retweeted a picture of their favourite to date, in which Alberto Contador deploys some top photo-bombing skills.

Finally, Vincenzo Niabli wasn’t the only winner today, as this tweet from former Sky rider Russell Downing, one of the ambassadors for Yorkshire’s Grand Depart, shows – FDJ rider Jérémy Roy nabbed his Holme Moss KOM on Strava.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

35 comments

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Beaufort [270 posts] 2 years ago
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There is no answer to the idiot taking photos in the middle of the road with their back to traffic. It's natural selection and prime darwin award material.

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dreamlx10 [169 posts] 2 years ago
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It's amazing to see so many "Gringos" in the one place.

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 2 years ago
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Yet to see any of the 'Tourmakers' at the pinchpoints yet plenty milling about behind the crowds at the start and finish. What are they for again?

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massspike [139 posts] 2 years ago
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Can't understand why after hours of waiting you would want to watch the riders through a screen/viewfinder instead of your "Mark I" eyeballs.

P.S. I was pleased to see one of the G-S riders (Slaghter?) slapping down a smartphone and seeing it break into pieces on the pavement.

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jacknorell [974 posts] 2 years ago
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Beaufort wrote:

There is no answer to the idiot taking photos in the middle of the road with their back to traffic. It's natural selection and prime darwin award material.

Maybe if they did it on a motorway... unfortunately the racers would likely come off worse than the idiot if there's a collision.

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Sswindells [70 posts] 2 years ago
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I was a tour maker and it was really clear from te start that our role was not to deal with crowd control, but to help people. Volunteers don't have the training and contact with others for assistance.

Crowd control is down to event security and the stewards. Of which most were taking pictures on their phones.

That being said my feedback for the Tour makers organisers is to utilise the tour makers on that capacity more. We were told not to deal withit, but what the issue with asking volunteers to gently encourage people out of the way is i'll never know...these aren't drunken hooligans, just excited fans and maybe all that was needed was a uniformed person to ask to move out of the way with arms out. Easy enough. But completely disallowed by the tour maker training

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SteppenHerring [330 posts] 2 years ago
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I've often thought that they should send a snowplough up ahead of the riders. Maybe with blades charged to 50kV

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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Gotta' say I say I love the Contador photo bomb (although I hate that term).

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NeilG83 [302 posts] 2 years ago
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I really don't understand the selfie craze. Why wait for ages to see a bike race and then in the few seconds in which it passes have your back to it. Are people worried that nobody will believe they were there unless they appear in the photos.

Risking injury to themselves an others for the sake of a photo.
Tejay Van Garderen summed it up as a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity.

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MartyMcCann [246 posts] 2 years ago
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An even bigger pain in the backside is those gabshites who use iPads to take photos. While at 2 different stages during the Giro, standing in my carefully chosen spots, what had been great viewing positions were screwed seconds before the peloton arrived with ignorant bolloxes suddenly jumping in front of me and holding A4 sized screens up blocking my view of the riders. In one of them I was at the 75m to go at Belfast city hall as the sprinters were hammering it on and one iPad wielding sheep leant so far over the barriers I don't know how they missed him.

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NeilG83 [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Otis Bragg wrote:

An even bigger pain in the backside is those gabshites who use iPads to take photos. While at 2 different stages during the Giro, standing in my carefully chosen spots, what had been great viewing positions were screwed seconds before the peloton arrived with ignorant bolloxes suddenly jumping in front of me and holding A4 sized screens up blocking my view of the riders.

Why don't people realise that their obsession with viewing the world through a screen is ruining other spectators' enjoyment. Same goes for those idiots that hold up great big signs at the Belgian classics. And don't get me started on people waving enormous flags at music festivals so nobody behind them can see the stage.

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Grubbythumb [61 posts] 2 years ago
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Anyone else spot the crowd control copper strolling along in the middle of the road with his back to the riders, just as the bulk of the peleton got to the top of Holme Moss?

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DavidC [146 posts] 2 years ago
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I wouldn't have noticed Contador in that photo if he wasn't covered in fluorescent yellow.

But anyway, until today I didn't know that Britons were the only people in the world who took selfies.

That's enough sarcasm for today, methinks.

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racyrich [272 posts] 2 years ago
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The selfie craze won't go away when the stupid cow on BBC Breakfast is asking people to send in theirs from the race.

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sturdmaster [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Did anyone see the guy in the pink polo shirt get knocked off his feet when the peleton was ramping up the pace?

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 2 years ago
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Sadly an event like this will attract a number of people who have no interest in the sport just want to be there/be a know head etc. It's bad enough that there are actual fans whose behaviour is questionable but add in ringers and things aren't good.

As for the 1st comment - I'd agree about natural selection the problem is they risk the certainty of taking riders with them.

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29erKeith [39 posts] 2 years ago
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Two team\race cars, side by side ahead of the Peleton, horns beeping, that should get them back  19

Bar a few who are a bit over enthusiastic well done Yorkshire and the UK. Amazing to see so many behind it, makes a change from the endless negative cycling nonsense in the press. the crowds along the whole route on TV were amazing, I'm so disappointed I couldn't make it up now  2

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portec [116 posts] 2 years ago
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massspike wrote:

I was pleased to see one of the G-S riders (Slaghter?) slapping down a smartphone and seeing it break into pieces on the pavement.

It was Navardauskas I think. But yes, the muppet got what he deserved.  41

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nicholassmith [92 posts] 2 years ago
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To be fair to the girl who took that selfie, it looks like she was positioned well back from the road. I think I read it was just after the start rather than deep into the race.

Quote:

Anyone else spot the crowd control copper strolling along in the middle of the road with his back to the riders, just as the bulk of the peleton got to the top of Holme Moss?

I did! Funny as well because it looked like he'd been telling people to get off the road, and was completely oblivious to the fact he was about to be squished.

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Marauder [274 posts] 2 years ago
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sturdmaster wrote:

Did anyone see the guy in the pink polo shirt get knocked off his feet when the peleton was ramping up the pace?

I did too and it was squidgy bum time for a couple of seconds for me  40

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BigDummy [314 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

all that was needed was a uniformed person to ask to move out of the way

I was surprised that the Tour Makers weren't being used in this way too. I had the impression that most of the crowd had no appreciation of how fast the race was going to come through. Even just warning people that there was a safety issue would have been an excellent use of manpower.

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Shades [313 posts] 2 years ago
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Until I read about this, it's just something that would have never entered my mind to do! iPads?!! About the last thing I would haul up a hill to watch a bike race. A good vantage point and an SLR with a decent zoom lens should get you some great phots (multishot mode) and still leave you time to watch and cheer as the riders pass. Mind you, I'm just over 6ft which helps!

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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There were reportedly 2.5m out on the route. You are always going to get a few idiots amongst that many people, it is an unavoidable fact of life. It's certainly not unique to Britain - Paris-Roubaix 2013 and the Zoncolan this year, are two that immediately spring to mind.

That said, some of the stewarding wasn't much better. One of them near us almost got taken out twice by Gendarmerie motorcycles, as well as one of the caravan floats, because he was too busy talking to his mate.

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fustuarium [171 posts] 2 years ago
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And the fella who got knocked off his feet at the intermediate sprint was facing forward with his camera ...

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nicholassmith [92 posts] 2 years ago
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Interestingly I've read elsewhere that the Tour Makers were forbidden from trying to do crowd control and were only there for crowd assistance purposes. I'll see if I can find the link, but I think it was BTL on The Guardian.

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Shades [313 posts] 2 years ago
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Had a look at the Daily Mail (on-line) article which was saying how well it had all gone. Also looked at the comments which were mostly positive but there was the usual crop of 'misery guts' bleating about cyclists (tax, road closures, blah blah). I fear for this country if I ever go near the DM!

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pmanc [206 posts] 2 years ago
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With crowds that big you're always going to get a few idiots, but as the quotes in the article say, many people haven't witnessed anything like this before and aren't aware of the size and speed of the peloton.

I think it's good that people who aren't generally into the sport are taking an interest - some will probably will stick with it - but the lead cars, and particularly the numerous police, could have done a lot more to explain - in a friendly manner - that the riders need the whole road and to stay on the verge. Maybe they could stop for a second at crowded pinch points? All we got was a garbled recorded warning on repeat as one car sped by.

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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We were spectating just outside Holmbridge (around where the breakaway got caught). The road is narrow with no pavement and dry stone walls both sides. All morning fluoro-jacketed event security were urging spectators to stand OFF the road (at the other side of the wall) - cue much trampling down of brambles. Then after a while a guy who looked like their supervisor told them not to bother giving that instruction as they didn't want "a riot" (his phrase) on their hands. And I thought we were being very well behaved!  13

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 2 years ago
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Grubbythumb wrote:

Anyone else spot the crowd control copper strolling along in the middle of the road with his back to the riders, just as the bulk of the peleton got to the top of Holme Moss?

I couldn't believe that - he clearly thought he had bags of time to spare.

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joules1975 [403 posts] 2 years ago
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Anyone else miss read that strava message to Russ Downing and think the Ron Jeremy had taken the KOM?

I know Mario Chipollini once said that if he wasn't a pro cyclist he'd be a porn star, but the thought that it might have happened the other way round took me aback for a moment ... and then I re-read message.

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