It seems impossible that you missed that the Tour de France started in Utrecht this weekend. But I did miss it, at least, I couldn’t be there! I was in Germany, so I couldn’t make a video to show you how the Tour started in my home town (I still call it that even though I’ve lived elsewhere for over 20 years now), as I did when Utrecht was the starting place of the Giro d’Italia in 2010.
But Utrecht organised the Tour very well and the publicity was also handled very well. So I am able to show you three videos that were especially made by the website TourdeFranceUtrecht that will give you a great overview of what the atmosphere was like in Utrecht.
The first video is of the Team Presentations on Thursday last.
The riders gathered in the Rail Road Museum, went by boat over the old city moat to a park where they entered the stage on their bicycles. They were cheered on by a big crowd of 12,000 people and in the summer heat (the temperatures were record breaking – over 30 degrees C) everything looked magnificent. Some riders commented that this reception was overwhelming.
The second video shows you how atmosphere was in the city during the first stage on Saturday. 500.000 people came to watch the time trial.
I am sure my Australian readers were very happy with the winner of the individual time trial, Rohan Dennis.
Second Stage; Utrecht – Zeeland
The third and last video shows you how the riders left Utrecht for the DeltaWorks of Zeeland on Sunday. For this event another 325.000 people came to Utrecht.
One of the finest moments for the city was when the entire peloton rode underneath the separated tower of Utrecht’s cathedral. (It must be one of the few cathedral towers that you can ride through, because it was cut off from the church when a tornado caused half the church to collapse in 1674.)
The city of Utrecht was very happy with how everything went. A total of nearly 1 million visitors came to witness one of the events related to the Tour de France. An impressive figure but for me the most impressive figure of the weekend was the that of 28,000 extra bicycle parking spots in 20 temporary facilities that were created for all the visitors arriving by bike!
It seems the Tour de France organisation was also happy with how things went in The Netherlands. They thanked everyone in Dutch in a tweet. The Dutch phrase is correct, sadly the name of our country isn’t.
On Monday the Tour will be in Belgium going from Antwerp to Huy. And after that it is still a very long way to Paris. But you will be able to follow that yourself, I’m sure!