Tour de France organisers ASO have enlisted the help of teams and riders, including Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar, to use social media channels to remind fans of their responsibilities when watching the race from the roadside.
The appeal comes ahead of some key stages expected to draw big crowds in the coming days as the race heads towards its conclusion a week tomorrow – not least that unprecedented double ascent of Alpe d’Huez on Thursday.
Among those who took to Twitter in response to ASO’s appeal was Millar, who said:
The race director of the TdF asked me to use my 'tweeter' to offer safety guidance for the brilliant public on the road. I have 4 tips –
1. Do not stand on the road, it may seem unimaginable in the hours of waiting preceding the race, but when we do arrive we use ALL of it!
2. Remove children/pets/chairs from road when stepping back to avoid us, they more often than not end up being forgotten in the panic.
3. Bike riders appear further away through a camera lens/phone/iPad than they actually are, take a long shot, not a close-up!
4. Cheer for me! We hear everything when passing and, most importantly, enjoy the spectacle, I'll be standing there with you soon.
The importance of that second point was made apparent towards the end of Stage 2 of this year’s race when a small white dog ran across the road and stopped in front of a group of riders trying to chase down an attack; luckily, the pooch managed to get out of the way in the nick of time. You can see a video of that incident here.
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.