Showing posts with label Tour de France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tour de France. Show all posts

Monday, 7 July 2014

Tour de France into London - post race

On the whole, day 3 of this years Tour de France went smoothly enough, despite some spectators standing too close to the path of cyclists with temporary disruption a few times.

The third stage began in the picturesque location of Cambridge, with lots of imposing stone university colleges on view.  Good progress was made through the attractive sun-lit countryside of Essex before the riders entered the outskirts of London.

Very quickly the riders were entering the northern part of Olympic Park, then speeding down roads past the Velodrome, Copper Box, Aquatic Centre, Olympic Stadium, and the iconic red Orbit tower.

From there it was through residential suburbs to the Royal Docks, past City Airport, alongside Canary Wharf where a DLR train had been specially painted with the message 'Va Va Froome', then Tower Bridge and Tower of London, through the southern edge of the City of London, with the Thames on the left hand side, round the corner at Parliament House, up to Buckingham Palace, making one last turn, and then the final sprint up the Mall where the German ride Kittel managed to win a stage for the second time in three days.

The days events went very well, and the few days that the race was run in England turned out to be very successful.  From London's perspective, the main disappointment was the weather.  Earlier in the afternoon it had been pleasantly sunny, but by the time the cyclists hit London there was a drizzle of rain, and the sky was grey and grim.

From the helicopter where were shots of many recognisable landmarks, with excellent views into the grounds of the Tower of London, but the sights would have been more attractive to potential visitors to London if the weather had been sunnier.

Hopefully many people watching the race unfolding on tv screens around the world will have been surprised to see how beautiful much of the English countryside is, and how stunning so many of the historic and modern buildings in central London, not to mention the extensive green parks.

When will the Tour de France next have stages in neighbouring England?  We want you back!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tour de France passing by major London developments

Today (7th July 2014) the Tour de France race is proceeding through London.  Along the way the cyclists, their attendant teams, and the eyes of millions of onlookers (both local and watching via TV around the world) will see some of London's major developments.

The third day stage starts in Cambridge.  By mid afternoon the cyclists will have entered London, and heading in a south-west direction at high speed.

The first significant development along the route is a Stratford, main site of the 2012 Olympics.  After the Olympics were over much of the site needed to be cleared, although the stadium, Aquatic Centre, Copper Box (for indoor events), and the magnificent Orbit structure have been retained.

At the Olympics site, work is shortly to get underway on many residential and office developments.  Organisations such as Transport for London and the Financial Conduct Authority are set to open head offices in 2018.  A new campus for the well respected University College is being built a stones throw from the stadium.  There will even be a new branch of the Victoria & Albert Museum, intended mainly for modern design.

The next major developments along the route are at Royal Docks.  Around £1 billion is being spent to build an asian business park, catering primarily for Chinese companies which need a European base.  Extensive residential developments are taking place nearby, including the Royal Wharf which will have a 500 metres Thames frontage.  The cyclists will pass directly over the tunnel for the Crossrail service, as they race past City Airport.

A few kilometres to the west, Canary Wharf will get a lot of attention.  The highly distinctive new Crossrail station is nearing completion, and this is close to Wood Wharf which will serve as the next major stage of the Canary Wharf development, mainly catering for smaller businesses instead of major financial institutions.

As the cyclists head further west they will briefly see historic Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, before continuing past the City of London, arguably the main financial centre in the world.  Many office developments are taking place, including a substantial new London base for Bloomberg.

Over the next few minutes the cyclists will be riding close to the Thames, passing London Eye on the south side, and then rounding the corner at Parliament House.  Continuing on, they will have Buckingham Palace on their left before turning into the Mall with green parks on both sides for a final frantic dash for the finishing line.

Anyone watching will derive a great deal of excitement from seeing the cyclists compete at their athletic limits, and at the same time see many of London's most historic sights and impressive new developments.