Well this morning around 2:00 AM Pacific time the Tour de France (TdF) started in Belgium with Stages 1 and 2.
There are several key reasons why this Tour will be important. First, the yellow jersey will be awarded to the overall winner for the 100th time. The Tour will celebrate the 50th anniversary of five-time winner Eddy Merckx’s first victory. The race began with him dropping the start flag from the Director's car. Paul Sherwan passed away last December and will be greatly missed as one of the key commentators of this event. Phil Liggett and Bob Roll will be doing the honors. In the studio after the stage Christian VanDerVeer and Chris Horner (from Bend) who retired this year from cycling will head up the analysis following each stage. Bradley Wiggins, 2012 winner of the Tour is riding along on one of the motorbikes and will be delivering podcasts throughout. I also enjoy Jens Voigt's analysis out on the road during the race.
Several key faces will not be in the tour this year due to injuries in previous tours: Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin. Mark Cavendish was not selected to be one of the seven from his team. Stage 1 wasn't expected to have as many exciting moments or crashes and a photo finish with a surprise winner. Jakob Fuglsang, one of the top cyclists expected to do well, crashed but managed to hang on to finish. It was unknown whether his injuries will allow is return. Dylan Groenewegen was favored to win Stage 1 but crashed within the last 3 miles of the race so his teammate decided to go for the win. Geraint Thomas hit the footing of a barrier but wasn't injured.
Sagan and Teunissen sprinted to a photo image with only a few cm giving the win to Teunissen. The first cyclist from Holland to win a stage in 30+ years. The final miles of the stage come back into Brussels and it reminded me of when they return to Paris -- in and out of the tunnel (but only once here). I liked the pink hat being thrust out near the finish line.
I always get tempted to paint scenery, castles and churches when I watch the Tour. I always hope to catch come fans doing something interesting with a cyclist in view of them. I love to paint the shadows of the bikes. I have developed some favorites over the years and Peter Sagan is one of my favorite. The sprint finishes are my favorite in capturing the effort and strain on their faces. There are several new young cyclists who emerged in the tours leading up to the TdF. I'll be watching for them to win a few stages.
I always want to give them as much publicity as I can because it is a grueling sport. My husband, brother, and cousin all are hooked on riding local races. We had hoped to get to France so they could ride some of the same routes on the Tour but so far health issues haven't allowed us that wonderful trip.
If you were collecting cycling art, what kind of paintings would you prefer? cyclists riding, scenery with cyclists, portraits of yellow jersey winners - please comment if you have a preference.
Sharing my paintings with others is one of the joys in my life. Educating others about how I paint and the media I use is very important and why I wanted to reach out through this blog. Hope you will add a comment about what you see.