As promised, I went to Nice and, regretfully, came back. Ostensibly, we drove over to watch the last stage of Paris-Nice, but we really just wanted to go there. No matter how cliché it might seem, Nice really is ‘nice’.
Yesterday morning we walked along the Promenade des Anglais and through the market in the old town, bought a pot of mint, filled up on Turkish food, checked out of the hotel, and headed back to Promenade. This is what awaited us – a whole avenue of freely-accessible cycling goodness.
My stroll up the road started off auspiciously, since the first cyclist I ran into was Yellow Jersey porteur, Carlos Alberto Betancur.
Shortly after him I happened upon an important meeting (probably still whining about Richie Porte jamming on them in favor of Tirreno-Adriatico) involving ASO Director, Christian Prudhomme.
The catch of the day, however, was 7-time (consecutive!) Paris-Nice winner, Sean Kelly. We had a short conversation, but I don’t know what he said.
On my way back to Shoko I passed by a World Champion.
A French Champion.
A champion of skinniness.
And a champion of wattage output (and shirtless calendar photos, of course).
The start of the race was here.
And the end was here, about 100 meters down the road.
I felt a bit like a perv taking a photo of this guy, but isn’t that David Millar?
Frank ‘skin-and-bones’ Schleck made a valiant escape on Col d’Eze, I believe, only to be caught at the line by French Champion Arthur Vichot, pictured not very well in the small group behind.
This one’s a bit better. He’s in the French colors, in a perfect position 200 meters from the line.
Rui Costa had a tumble coming down off the col and limped in later.
As did this guy, in obvious hurt. Check out the 2nd knee on his right side!
Finally, a rider who fell on his left side, finishing with a limp arm. It’s unfathomable to me that this kind of punishment is all in a day’s work for these guys. Last time I had a fall I checked myself into the hospital for the rest of the day and drank away my sorrows for a week. How can such slim dudes be so tough?
23 thoughts on “Paris-Nice 2014”
Great pictures, better than all these bird pictures we get.
I did see some seagulls, but I’m not as quick with the zoom as Tootlepedal.
A really nice flavour of the day out. These guys seem to be able to take enormous amounts of punishment and keep riding….as well as being wonderfully thin.
When you get close to them you realize quickly the difference between them and normal humans.
Terrific job with this post, thanks!
Thanks, Suze. If you want to know where you should be doing your final sprint along the Promenade this fall, let me know!
the god of classics..you met the great Sean Kelly..lucky man
Well, ‘met’ might be a bit strong, but I got close enough for some toughness to rub off, maybe.
What else can I say, other then I’m jealous on so many levels.
You peed next to Eddy. You can’t be jealous.
That was fun – felt like I was there.
Thanks, Karen. I feel the same way!
My irish wife was impressed. Your looking pretty skinny yourself. I think you could easily beat him on a climb. Did you trade watt stories?
Luc, it’s the black t-shirt. I’m far from skinny 😉
Thanks. I had Shoko’s ‘good camera’ that day. Wish I could fit that sucker in my back pocket…
These pics are fantastic. As you are well aware, I am a racing fan neophyte, anxiously planning my attendance at the 2015 World Championships in Richmond. Are scenes like the ones you photographed typical of a professional race or are they unique to Paris-Nice? If they are typical, then where can I find such open access? I’m guessing this is somewhere near the start/finish line.
Steve, every race I’ve been to has different ‘levels of access’, but even at the Tour de France you can get to the buses, usually. At the Worlds, there’ll be an area for all the buses, I’d bet, and you should get there at least an hour before the race you’re going to watching. If you can’t find it, follow the cycling geeks…there’ll be plenty of them at that race!
Great pics as so many already mentioned. Made me feel sick when I saw “Bones” Schleck. I don’t think this is healthy. Loosing weight is ok, but it shouldn’t get an obsession in my view!
Funny you should say that, Simon. I just read an article whose author was proclaiming Franck ‘in great shape’. I think we need to readjust our concept of ‘normal’ for pro cyclists 😉