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A week late, but just a short thank you to France Télévisions, ITV4 and RMC (Radio Monte Carlo) for another cracking three weeks featuring the greatest cycling in the world, the Tour de France.  (Click on the official map to see more of the route.)

ITV4 received their feed from France 2 and France 3.  Many cameramen and transmission technicians were on hand in planes, helicopters, motorcycles and studios in both countries to bring us live coverage of each stage, complemented by beautiful scenery of the French countryside and the centre of Paris.

We in the mousehole enjoyed watching each day’s stages in full — a first for British television.  The ITV4 commentators did a fabulous job, as ever.

In the last couple of weeks, I also listened to commentary live on RMC.  Their enthusiasm was palpable and I could hardly wait to see the live coverage, which I had recorded in the afternoon, to watch in the evening.

A lot of work goes into producing this fine sporting event.  Thankfully, dope appeared to be non-existent this year.  I think only one test turned up ‘positive’.

The results showed a real Anglo-French result.  Cadel Evans of Australia worked hard to win the Tour, and the Schleck brothers from Luxembourg — sharing the podium in Paris with him (‘the Schleck sandwich’) — did not disappoint.  Congratulations also to Britain’s Mark Cavendish, winner of the green jersey for overall best sprinter; France’s Thomas Voeckler, from Alsace but resident in Brittany, who came fourth and wore the maillot jaune for 10 days running; France’s Pierre Rolland, winner of Best Young Rider and Spain’s Samuel Sanchez, who won Man of the Mountain and the polka dot jersey.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s race!

Postscript: ITV4 also broadcast a 2010 film, Chasing Legends, which not only traces the history of the Tour from 1903 but also follows the HTC (Mark Cavendish’s) team throughout the 2009 Tour.  It also features ITV4’s commentators — and former riders — Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.  It’s an excellent 90-minute film which shows you how a team prepares for each stage and all those multitasking behind the scenes.  If you ever have a chance to see it, don’t miss it, especially if you’re a cycling enthusiast!

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