Tour de France: David Millar shares his safety tips for fans at organisers' request

Organisers ASO enlist help of teams' and riders' social media channels to help get safety message across

by Simon_MacMichael   July 13, 2013  

David Millar MSR 2012 © Simon MacMichael

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.

8 user comments

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Something I really can not understand is why people take a dog to watch a race and then let the bloomin' thing off the lead!!

I had a dog and would have never let her off the lead because the consequences have the potential to be horrendous. Just ask Phillipe Gilbert.

posted by SevenHills [143 posts]
13th July 2013 - 17:52

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Remember Joaquim Agostinho.

posted by kobacom [81 posts]
13th July 2013 - 18:24

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One thing that galls me year after year with the grand tours is the complete lack of respect most 'fans' seem to have for the riders. If it's not moronic photo hunters, loose animals or half-naked runners, it's the behaviour of the big crowds on the big climbs. It gets to the point where riders can't actually launch attacks when they want to because the spectators are closed in around them so tightly. I know the organisers can't/don't want to put in barriers for the entire length of the climbs, but personally I'd welcome it even if I was there.

posted by TeamExtreme [5 posts]
13th July 2013 - 21:57

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Maybe they should send a snowplough ahead of the riders on the climbs. Also why is it only bloke with their arses hanging out? Where are the women?

posted by SteppenHerring [150 posts]
13th July 2013 - 23:26

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SteppenHerring wrote:
Maybe they should send a snowplough ahead of the riders on the climbs.

The ref's cars and motorbikes are supposed to achieve this but rarely do. The way it works in reality is a bit like this:

1. Initially everyone stands near the side of the road, in a rough line. Excitement rises as the Caravan, then the Safety Car come through. Finally the ref's car rolls through, and the race is very close. Everyone wants to see the race as best they can.
2. One person who wants a better view, to take a photo or just to get their cause/flag/banner/arse on TV steps slightly forward.
3. This slightly obscures the view of the person behind (uphill from) them. They step out slightly further, obscuring the view of the person behind them...
4. Repeat this effect all over the climb, and pretty soon everyone is in the middle of the road and nobody can see the race, and often no racing can happen because there is no road to ride on.

As Terry Pratchett has said numerous times, the collective intelligence of a crowd has an inverse-square relationship to the number of people in it. The people who go out to see good racing act in a way which prevents it.

Stewie

posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
14th July 2013 - 0:17

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On second thoughts, a snowplough effect could be achieved by having two cars drive up the climb, side-by-side, directly in front of each group. Alternatively two motorbikes a few meters apart would clear a decent path.

Stewie

posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
14th July 2013 - 0:20

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TeamExtreme wrote:
One thing that galls me year after year with the grand tours is the complete lack of respect most 'fans' seem to have for the riders. If it's not moronic photo hunters, loose animals or half-naked runners, it's the behaviour of the big crowds on the big climbs. It gets to the point where riders can't actually launch attacks when they want to because the spectators are closed in around them so tightly. I know the organisers can't/don't want to put in barriers for the entire length of the climbs, but personally I'd welcome it even if I was there.

Could not agree more. It always frustrates the he'll out of me.

posted by Jonny_Trousers [67 posts]
14th July 2013 - 1:30

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Number 4 was not a safety tip! I nominate it to be changed to 'Do not through cups of urine'

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
14th July 2013 - 23:02

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