Tour de France 2021: by the side of the road, the return of the world before

The world of before has returned to the edge of Breton roads, to the land of binuos, bombards and flags speckled with ermines. Families line up at street corners or along the departmental roads, children run after key rings thrown by hostesses harnessed on tanks and their parents sing “Cochonou! Cochonou! “ when the publicity caravan passes, before shouting “Go Alaphilippe” in full view of the peloton.

→ READ. Tour de France 2021: first success on the Grande Boucle and yellow jersey for Mathieu van der Poel

In this fervent crowd, red polka-dot bobs are more plentiful on the heads than masks on the faces. In Landerneau, it allows to discover the joyful face of Antoine. “But I am vaccinated”, he cuts. This student came from Quimper with about ten friends. They are twenty years old, the age when the pandemic is seen more as a punishment than a threat. ” It feels good, he slips. We rediscover the pleasure of seeing the world, we taste again the flavors of life. There is time to catch up. We missed large gatherings. “

“Even if it’s a party, we are vigilant”

A little further on, this couple is still masked, drowned in a motley and costumed mass. They are 48 years old. “We are not vaccinateds, explains Frédéric. Even if it’s a party, we are vigilant. ” This Norman fan of cycling took advantage of a family visit to Brittany to see the Tour up close, with his wife, Christelle, who is just as passionate about cycling. “At least now we breathe”, she adds, opening her backpack, full of promotional gadgets. The caravan itself has grown again, with around fifty additional vehicles compared to the previous edition.

Sunday June 27, at the foot of the coast of Mûr-de-Bretagne, “Breton Alpe-d’Huez”, it was also fair day and camper van festival. “It gives us pleasure to find a bit of normality, recognizes Pierre Rolland, who is on his twelfth participation in the Great Loop. The world on the road is part of the Tour. ” The runners have not forgotten the special atmosphere of the big start of the 2020 edition, in Nice, with its “Quasi-in camera”, according to the formula of the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes. For this Tour, which we were not sure would come to an end, they had started driving in front of large opaque panels to keep themselves safe from spectators and the coronavirus.

This year, normalcy stops in the arrivals and departures areas. To access it, you must show a “health pass”, that is to say proof of a complete vaccination or a recent negative test, and the mask is mandatory. Gauges have also been set, at least until June 30, according to the protocol of “The supervised resumption of sporting events and festivities” wanted by the government: no more than 4,000 people, for example, to attend the final sprint on Monday, June 28 in Pontivy (Morbihan), to the chagrin of local elected officials in a territory less affected than others by the Covid -19.

→ PRACTICAL. Tour de France 2021: mask compulsory and health pass required in several areas

“Just seeing them is not bad already”

Selfies and autographs are also prohibited. Once they land, the peloton lives in a bubble, with no contact with the public or the media. Crossed in Brest, Laurane, 20, is not offended: “Just seeing them is not bad already. “ But the return to the world before also has its drawbacks. Saturday June 26, during the first stage, an inconsistent spectator caused a gigantic pile-up within the peloton. She had advanced to the edge of the road, with her back to the race, to show the cameras a cardboard sign with “Go opi-omi” (“Come on grandma” in German).

→ READ. Tour de France 2021: after a massive fall, the organizers file a complaint against a spectator

About forty runners were caught in a collective fall, including Julian Alaphilippe. The French learned, after the fact, that an imprudent was involved. “Everyone is happy to find spectators by the side of the road, but I call for vigilance, he commented. Pay attention. Caution. The organizers of the Tour de France have announced that they want to file a complaint against this woman in a yellow oilskin jacket who caused the first abandonment of this almost normal edition. An investigation by the gendarmerie is opened to find her.


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