ITV4 coverage of the tour this year, the bits between the racing, not the actual racing, has been brilliant. This is chiefly down to the winning combination of Imlach, Boardman and Boulting. I’ve even warmed to the silent assassin, Matt Rendell, with his perfect french and Hitchcockian undertone of menace.
Highlights included Jen Voigt’s extended homily, questing where reality begins and ends on the Tour; “Now that I have seen both sides, who are the monkeys actually, and who are the people watching and who are the real monkeys? I can’t answer that.” This epithete appeared in the rest day programme, which also featured some terrific footage of Thevenet and Merckx on Pra Loup and an extended interview with Thevenet. It captures the moment Merckx blows up and loses his lead. You can find it on the page below:
Second up is the genius montage which tied Romain Bardet to SL2 forever; it’s a track we’ve been humming in Traumfarrhad Towers for a while now. It’s as though legions of cycling tifosi up and down the land shared the same earworm, but didn’t realise until the sound editor laid it down. He’s probably been itching for a Bardet stage win all year, waiting and waiting, and then BOOM, it drops in his lap.
It’s the best montage I’ve ever seen. Aside from musical mash-ups and vague puns, the Velon footage has been a genuine innovation this year. There is talk of getting to a point where camera footage is available live during the race. It would be quite something to be able to cut to a sprinter’s camera when he stamps on the pedals. The footage from this tour has some unusual angles, mechanic-cam is a favourite. The clip below seems to have someone groaning throughout which adds a bit of depth, as if a multi-rider smash up at 40mph wasn’t deep enough.
However, nothing comes near the action from Alpe D’Huez. As the riders head up through Dutch corner it resembles a scene from a Werner Herzog film, orange smoke drifting across a vision of an inferno; a baying and screaming mob dressed in outlandish attire. A genuinely unreal spectacle.