I have reported for ITV on 10 Tours de France.
This is a memory from 2012. I never thought I'd see the day when two British riders finished first and second.
"Stage seven, ending in a punchy little climb up to la Planche de Belles Filles, had been targeted some time ago as the first proving ground for Wiggins’ challenge. As plans go, this one had been executed to perfection. Chris Froome had won the stage. And Bradley Wiggins had assumed the lead of the Tour de France.
So, two seismic new shifts in the space of a few seconds, we headed towards the barriers that protected the Tour’s inner sanctum once again, this time while the mind raced; a British stage winner in a mountain top finish, and a British leader of the Tour de France.ws
Improbable as this might sound, in that instant, it felt entirely natural; a straightforward matter. It was far from straightforward, of course, but right then, I had a skip in my step, and a swagger that must have maddened my international colleagues.
The great Frankie Andrieu, reporter, ex US cyclist and one of the few men to stand up to the Armstrong myth, yelled at me.
‘Hey step away from that barrier! Do not touch the barrier!’
Undeterred for even a second, I rounded on him with a grin. ‘You’ve had your seven years, young man. And very dubious they were too, I might add. Now pipe down.’ Frankie waved his hand dismissively, like New Yorkers do in films. I like to think he was enjoying the sight, too.
Bradley Wiggins stepped in the front of the camera, wearing the yellow jersey.
‘It’s an incredible feeling to have done what we’ve done and it hasn’t sunk in yet. It sounds corny but this is something I’ve dreamt of since I was a child – sat on the home trainer in Kilburn watching my hero Miguel Indurain do it. Those dreams have come true now and I’m sat here at the top of a mountain in yellow. It’s phenomenal.’
In the middle of his delight, he added these words.
‘I don’t know why I keep saying I’m from Kilburn.’
Ned has covered every Tour De France for ITV since 2003. He wrote the book 'How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France' and his new book 'On the Road Bike; The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul' will be published in May 2013
Follow Ned on Twitter @nedboulting
Memory added on April 3, 2013
Memory added on July 21, 2015
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