Tour de France stars thrilled by Yorkshire Grand Depart - but not by fans taking selfies

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

by Simon_MacMichael   July 6, 2014  

Yorkshire Grand Depart crowd (picture credit Welcome to Yorkshire, letouryorkshire com)

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.

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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

posted by Sswindells [14 posts]
6th July 2014 - 22:50

63 Likes

I've often thought that they should send a snowplough up ahead of the riders. Maybe with blades charged to 50kV

posted by SteppenHerring [220 posts]
6th July 2014 - 23:55

37 Likes

Gotta' say I say I love the Contador photo bomb (although I hate that term).

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1172 posts]
7th July 2014 - 0:14

35 Likes

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.

posted by NeilG83 [256 posts]
7th July 2014 - 0:38

41 Likes

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.

Otis Bragg's picture

posted by Otis Bragg [123 posts]
7th July 2014 - 0:56

37 Likes

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.

posted by NeilG83 [256 posts]
7th July 2014 - 1:10

40 Likes

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?

posted by Grubbythumb [44 posts]
7th July 2014 - 6:49

42 Likes

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.

Have a nice day.

DavidC's picture

posted by DavidC [66 posts]
7th July 2014 - 7:52

27 Likes

The selfie craze won't go away when the stupid cow on BBC Breakfast is asking people to send in theirs from the race.

posted by racyrich [136 posts]
7th July 2014 - 7:56

34 Likes

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

posted by sturdmaster [7 posts]
7th July 2014 - 8:31

33 Likes

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.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [392 posts]
7th July 2014 - 8:41

27 Likes

Two team\race cars, side by side ahead of the Peleton, horns beeping, that should get them back Devil

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 Sad

posted by 29erKeith [29 posts]
7th July 2014 - 8:44

30 Likes

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. Applause

posted by portec [36 posts]
7th July 2014 - 9:32

30 Likes

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.

posted by nicholassmith [69 posts]
7th July 2014 - 9:51

24 Likes

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 D Oh

posted by Marauder [242 posts]
7th July 2014 - 10:14

21 Likes

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.

posted by BigDummy [296 posts]
7th July 2014 - 10:15

18 Likes

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!

Shades

posted by Shades [215 posts]
7th July 2014 - 10:32

15 Likes

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.

posted by dp24 [193 posts]
7th July 2014 - 10:40

20 Likes

And the fella who got knocked off his feet at the intermediate sprint was facing forward with his camera ...

posted by fustuarium [15 posts]
7th July 2014 - 10:54

21 Likes

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.

posted by nicholassmith [69 posts]
7th July 2014 - 11:00

19 Likes

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!

Shades

posted by Shades [215 posts]
7th July 2014 - 11:01

25 Likes

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.

posted by pmanc [130 posts]
7th July 2014 - 11:44

17 Likes

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! Surprise

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [231 posts]
7th July 2014 - 13:01

17 Likes

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.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3321 posts]
7th July 2014 - 13:04

19 Likes

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.

posted by joules1975 [70 posts]
7th July 2014 - 14:06

18 Likes

Completely forgotten about the World Cup being on! Everyone in the office is talking about the TdF; even Wimbledon and the Grand Prix haven't had a mention. Applause

Shades

posted by Shades [215 posts]
7th July 2014 - 15:37

16 Likes

Was perhaps three hi vis deputies on Buttertubs and one copper but the crowd policed themselves pretty well. Mostly proper cycle folk which may have explained the lack of selfie action. @spincyclemag has perhaps the best photo from stage 1.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
7th July 2014 - 18:08

12 Likes

In Silsden the crowd was utterly awsome, and the organisation very good. I didn't anyone doing stupid things in Silsden, and the riders were really flying into the town.

Regarding selfies, could be a lot of people in the crowd were new to cycle racing and had not idea just how fast the riders go, and how much it's going to hurt if they get hit.. even where they are going up hill.

How the hell did they go up that climb out of Oxenhope at that speed? Bloody incredible, if I'd not seen it I wouldn't have believed it.

Seeing the best in the world make mincemeat out if hill I've pushed my bike up a child was brilliant.

TDF in Yorkshire... loved every bit of it. Lets do it again next year Big Grin

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [226 posts]
7th July 2014 - 20:47

10 Likes

Didn't make it to Yorkshire, but I was in Cambridge today. Think those naysayers up north were wrong...

posted by Al__S [591 posts]
7th July 2014 - 21:51

7 Likes

Call those crowds? This is a crowd. Buttertubs Saturday.

image.jpg

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
7th July 2014 - 22:12

9 Likes