Tour de France 2012

In a great team performance, Bradley Wiggins won the 99th edition of the Tour de France after having taken the lead in the first time trial. With persistent concentration, the Sky team escorted their captain over the 3497 kilometers of the Tour.

The First British Tour de France Winner

Sky team paced the peloton in a rapid average speed that made it impossible for competitors to escape for more than a few kilometers. But it was also the Tour of Alsacien chou-chou Thomas Voeckler winning the Queen stage in the Pyrenees and the polka-dot jersey.

Tour de France
A rider ascents at the Mur de Péguère pass in the Pyrenees during the 14th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Limoux and Foix, July 15, 2012.
Tour de France
Riders descend from the Col de Peyresourde in the Pyrenees during the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, July 18, 2012.
Tour de France
Nicki Sorensen of team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank cycles near Montesquiou in the Gascogne during the 15th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Samatan and Pau, July 16, 2012.
Tour de France
A rider races in Cazeaux-de-Larboust in the Pyrenees during the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, July 18, 2012.
Tour de France
Spectators watch a cyclist descend in the Pyrenees during the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, July 18, 2012.
Tour de France
Luis-Leon Sanchez of team Rabobank and Peter Sagan of team Liquigas ascent at the Mur de Péguère pass in the Pyrenees during the 14th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Limoux and Foix, July 15, 2012.
Tour de France
Fans in disguise watch the race the Mur de Péguère pass in the Pyrenees during the 14th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Limoux and Foix, July 15, 2012.
Tour de France
Thomas Voeckler of team Europcar climbs at the Mur de Péguère pass in the Pyrenees during the 14th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Limoux and Foix, July 15, 2012.
Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins of team Sky in the Yellow Jersey leads the pack at the Mur de Péguèrere pass in the Pyrenees during the 14th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Limoux and Foix, July 15, 2012.
Tour de France
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Bradley Wiggins (Sky), and Christopher Froome (Sky) descend from the Col de Peyresourde in the Pyrenees during the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, July 18, 2012.
Tour de France
A gendarme watches a rider descend in Cazeaux-de-Larboust in the Pyrenees during the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, July 16, 2012.
Tour de France
A cyclist descends in the Pyrenees during the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, July 18, 2012.

World’s Toughest Race: Tour de France

Le Tour de France is the oldest and most grueling bicycle race of the world. Since 1903, athletes compete for three weeks in a race over some 3500 kilometers. The course of the race changes every year. In even years, Le Tour leads clockwise through France, in uneven years counterclockwise. The finish is always in Paris on the famous Champs-Élysées, the place of numerous historical parades. Millions of spectators watch Le Tour every year – the combination of athletic achievement, postcard sceneries, and spectacle continues to fascinate people after more than 100 years.

More Photos of the Tour de France

This post is a summary of the stages of the Tour that I’ve photographed with my favourite photos.

More photos appear in these earlier posts about the Tour de France.

During these stages I learned that it’s not easy to get to the right location although (or because) the Tour is freely accessible, as roads are occupied by thousands of mobile homes, tents, cars, and spectators. It is surprising how organised the spectators are: they are always there a long time before the race starts. Also, there seems to be an unwritten law that when I have taken my position at a location, there is always someone deciding to stand right in front of my lens or into the landscape, or asking about the camera model right when the first cyclist arrives… Photographing the Tour by foot takes a lot of time and hundreds of kilometers to drive even when the actual “action time” is only a few seconds. France is really a big country!

I now have even more respect for the athletes who cycle for three weeks – the Tour is the hardest race I know.

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