September 2 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 7, 2014
It was over in seconds - but spectators came out in their droves today for the Tour de France’s once-in-a-lifetime dash through Woodford Green.
Some came out as early as 9am this morning for the race’s incursion into the borough, which didn’t happen until nearly 3.30pm - 45 minutes later than expected.
Crowds - about five rows-deep in places - lined the route along High Road Woodford Green.
Most riders were bunched in a tight peloton meaning that, despite the long wait, the moment everyone had waited for was over in less than 20 seconds.
“It’s exhilarating,” said spectator and “tour-maker” Josie Coster.
“When you see the bikes come through, after all the build-up, and in just five seconds they’ve past.
“And you look at your photos, and you’ve just got a wheel.”
As crowds built in the tense hours ahead of the race, spectators watched on and cheered as convoys of vehicles passed, some throwing out promotional material over the barriers.
Many set up shop on Woodford Green cricket pitch, where there were stalls and an ice cream van. Others favoured securing their spots race-side as early as possible.
Simon Liley, of Higham Road, Woodford Green, had taken the day off work to watch the spectacle with his young family.
The 41-year-old, who arrived at about 10am, said: “It’s brilliant – once in a lifetime. Just yards from our road – it’s fantastic.
“I think it probably shows what an exciting part of the UK this is to be in.
“And hopefully it shows people that cycling is a good thing to be involved in.”