VIP at the ToB

Tour of Britain VIP passAs some of my friends and followers on Twitter may have noticed, I was rather pleased to be given a VIP pass to the final stage of the Tour of Britain in London yesterday. This came courtesy of Paul Giovanni, who handles the marketing for Harmonicande Vintners. Paul simply posted a note on Twitter saying he had a spare pass and asking if anyone wanted it. I’m sure lots of people responded, but I was the one lucky enough to have my name pulled out of the hat.

Harmonicande, incidentally, was the official wine supplier for the ToB this year (hence the VIP access) – so it was their fizz the stage winners were spraying all over the podium girls and photographers every day. It almost seems a shame to waste it, since it’s a tasty Prosecco produced by former Tour de France Yellow Jersey wearer Flavio Vanzella, but you’ve got to respect the traditions of the podium, right? Paul, Paola and Kimberley at Harmonicande are good people and dig cycling, so buy their booze (it’s good – I tried most of it).

Anyway, I won’t rehash Andre Griepel’s frighteningly fast sprint or Michael Albasini’s overall victory – except to say that I was lucky enough to be feet away from Griepel as he flashed over the finish line and then to meet Albasini after the race (nice guy). Instead, here are some photos from my day as a cycling VIP. Click on a picture to enlarge.

The start of the race

The stage gets under way

 

Bike race

HTC Columbia stretch the peloton

Paola and Kimberley

My hosts - Paola and Kimberley from Harmonicande

People sitting at a table

This is what happens in the VIP area

Me and Chris Newton

You get to meet famous cyclists, too

I was really chuffed to meet Chris Newton – I’ve been a fan since I saw him win the World Cup points race with such panache in Manchester last November. Great racer and a good bloke, too.

Juniors on stationery bikes

Meanwhile, the juniors are having a race of their own

People watching the bike race

Back to the action...

TV cameraman on crane

All caught on camera, of course

At this point, my phone battery ran out and I MISSED THE PHOTO OF THE FINAL SPRINT.

Man walking away from race areas

So that was it for the day

Signed bottle of podium fizz

I did come away with one treat, though - a bottle from the podium that Tour of Britain winner Michael Albasini was kind enough to sign for me. Top man!

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