“Imagine scoring a goal in the Champions League final; the crowds are similar…but for an hour, continuously.” Said Sven Nys prior to Sunday’s world Cross champs. Some might even say that he is playing them down somewhat, but you can see what he is trying to say; that cycling fans really are an extravagantly loud, frenzied, sometimes uncontrollable bunch. That the spectators can get so intimately close to their heros is all part of what makes cycling such a great sport to watch. To commemorate this I’ve chucked a few photos and videos together that get as close to emulating actually being there as possible.
There’s the endless waiting of course,then the emergence of the convoy, then the anticipation, the scrambling for a good spot, the eerie silence, the surprise of the first rider as the crowd opens up, the sheer madness of the next 200, and finally, a mere 5 minutes later, the deep breath out, and back to the crate of beer.
And if a picture tells a thousand words, then these two videos should be ample. One is from the ’74 Giro, which I’ve posted on here before but is always worth a re-watch for the legendary Tifosi. The other is from “Hell On Wheels”, and like so many other clips from the film, is an expertly put together bit of footage in a fly on the wall style of a stage of the Tour from the perspective of a Basque fan.