Kate clearly enjoying herself
One of the Lampre team cars
Kate Evans entered a recent competition on LeTourGuide.com to win an exclusive chance to watch the Tour de France from a Lampre team car. Read on to find out how much she enjoyed the experience.
The clock said 4:45am. My head said go back to bed. However, I had a train to catch. The Tour de France had come to London and I was heading south. I had been unsure of whether or not to travel to the capital as the prospect of four hours on a train didn’t appeal to me but roll the clock back 12 hours and my decision became a lot, lot easier.
I had won the opportunity to watch the Tour from the back of the Lampre team car, thanks to a competition on LeTourGuide.com. Which is why, early Saturday morning, I found myself wondering across a strangely traffic free London bridge. Making my way through the masses of people decked in team jerseys ranging from Discovery to AG2R, I eventually arrived on Whitehall where I was met by the LeTourGuide.com team who were amazing!
An all day buffet and Lampre goodies kept me occupied until out of the blue the Lampre team invaded the café. Nine super friendly Italians happily signed autographs for at least half an hour. The time then came for me to pick a rider to follow in a team car. I chose Marzio Bruseghin who was departing at 3.55pm for my 10 minutes of mayhem.
Unfortunately at 3pm the car was full so I was to go in the following car. The tensions were increasing. Two hours had passed when Daniele Bennati cycled by closely followed by his team car and luckily with one empty seat. I was launched over the barriers and into the car.
With five other riders in front we crawled into position. The countdown came and with the drop of the commissar’s hand Bennati was off, and with a quick wave to my boyfriend, who I had abandoned five hours earlier, I was speeding towards Big Ben.
The atmosphere was terrific. Crowds four deep lined the course. I was absolutely terrified and delighted at the same time, the driver slowing down for nothing and I was flung from left to right hanging on for all I was worth.
Buckingham Palace flew past on the left and we roared through Marble Arch. The Italian encouragement of “Allez Daniele Allez,” only served to increase my excitement. As we reached Hyde Park Bennati was in full flow and the crowds were increasing in number.
The noise intensified as we flew down the Mall with Bennati now heading towards the finish on the Mall. A short sharp left and it was all over. As I sat gathering my breath and trying to let everything sink in, for it may only have been nine minutes but it was one of the most thrilling nine minutes of my life.
And I was just in time to find the prime spot my boyfriend had saved me to cheer Bradley Wiggins as he flew past. I think everyone who was in London on July 7th no matter where they watched the Prologue from has to admit it was an amazing day!