The Tour of Britain 2011 – Exeter to Exmouth

For those that don’t know, I’m a cycling fan. Today, Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain set off from Exeter and meandered around Devon for 180km, before ending up at Exmouth. It was a roughly circular route, so we managed to see the race start at Exeter, pass by at Crediton, and finish at Exmouth.

Exeter

It was very busy in Exeter, with crowds several deep at the railings. It wasn’t really possible to use a camera properly, but I tried holding it at arm’s length above the crowd. Unfortunately it seems I was mainly pointing it in the wrong direction and I only got one or two decent pictures. This picture shows the race departing, only about 100m from the start line.

After the cyclists had gone, the queue of team cars joined the procession and followed them along the course.

Crediton

While the cyclists were off on Dartmoor, tackling the windy and steep roads near Hay Tor, we had plenty of time to get to Crediton. The high street is quite straight and wide so we found a location where there was good visibility and the crowds were sparse. It was about one mile before the intermediate sprint, so we hoped there would be the beginnings of a lead-out train.

As it happens, there was a breakaway group which was a minute or two ahead of the peloton. Unfortunately the downside of seeing the race in person rather than watching it on TV is that you don’t have the commentary, or a clue what’s going on as it happens around you. The race passes very quickly, too fast to see who is leading. So I’m not too worried about the details, but here are some pictures of the cyclists passing.

So here’s the breakaway, with a rider from Sky at the front, closely followed by a rider from HTC Highroad. Unfortunately they wear their numbers on their backs, so I don’t know who they are 😛

Shortly after, the peloton rolled through the usually quiet town.

Exmouth

We hardly had any time to get from Crediton to Exmouth, and on the assumption that the town centre and seafront would be extremely busy and all the good places taken, we settled on a spot a mile or two up the road. We were treated to another wide, straight piece of road. There was a traffic island in the middle of the road so I stood on that and enjoyed the cyclists passing closely on both sides of me.

I had a word with one of the marshals who had access to the race radio, and he said that since Crediton the breakaway group had been caught, and that it was a bunch finish.

After the race had passed, we walked to the finish line. By then, all the cyclists had long gone, the awards had been presented, the team cars were nowhere to be seen and marshals were dismantling the course. But we had some fish and chips by the sea, so all was not lost. All in all, a good day for us, and a good day for the Sky and HTC Highroad teams, which both posted excellent results.

The highlights will be on TV a bit later on this evening, so I will be sure to watch them because I want to know what happened! I’m also keen to see if the cameras caught me in any of the 3 locations that we saw the Tour.

Stage 5 Results

Stage results
1 Mark Renshaw HTC Highroad
2 Mark Cavendish HTC Highroad
3 Robert Förster UnitedHealthcare
Overall classification
1 Lars Boom Rabobank
2 Geraint Thomas Sky ProCycling
3 Boy Van Poppel UnitedHealthcare
Points competition
1 Geraint Thomas Sky ProCycling
2 Mark Cavendish HTC Highroad
3 Lars Boom Rabobank

One Comment

  1. lordhutton
    September 17, 2011
    Reply

    And did you pop in? egad

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