As part of The Never Strays Far podcast series with Ned Boulting and David Millar, The Road Book and CHPT3 have launched an exciting competition to fill the void in the wake of the conclusion of TDF 2020. Among the selection of prizes on offer, is Ned Boulting’s commentary notes from the race and the chance to find out what really goes on behind the scenes. To enter and win this truly unique prize, click the link below and register before Midnight 11th October:

 

 

 

The only way I know how to keep track of the Tour de France, or indeed any other race, is to keep copious handmade notes. Some of the information I write down on the morning of a stage So that it is fresh in my memory when I have to speak. Other stuff I prepare before the race even gets underway and more scrawlings occurs to me on the hoof. Although I have plenty of digital notes to which I refer as well, nothing replaces the act of handwriting to lodge it into my flaky consciousness.

I am delighted to be able to offer up the prize of my 2020 Tour de France notes, specially bound in unique cover, to the winner of the competition listed below. I hope that they will constitute a bizarre and eclectic souvenir of what was ultimately an historic event. Here’s a brief look at what you might find inside.

Long before La Course started On the same day the tour got underway in Nice, I had to get ahead of the game and try to second guess who might be on the start list. Therefore I prepared a list of favourites and important riders which rapidly became dated as the day of the race approached. Nevertheless, the salient points for the riders who mattered would decipherable at least to me.

 

I have a habit of thinking about my very first words at each Tour de France. In 2020, these were heard during the roll out of La Course. Although I have no idea what I will say next at least I have a beginning.

With the race up and running, my handwriting rapidly deteriorated as events superseded each other. My notes became a jumble of historical detail and racing action.

 

 

 

It was over a week before I spilt my first Cup of coffee across my notes.

On stage 15 to Le Grand Columbier, I feared that the race might be over. Of course we now know that I was wrong. But I had to be prepared for a sense that Primož Roglič would deliver the fatal blow to the opposition there and then. I had scribbled down some thoughts about what I might say in that eventuality, but I never got to speak them out loud. They’re in the book, too. Instead it all came down to that famous time trial on stage 20. These are the hardest races to commentate on. When the top 10 in the general classification all on the road together, some finishing, some passing through checkpoints and others just starting, it becomes an exercise in live mathematics. This is not my strong point.

Once again I had some words in mind for the eventuality of a Roglič. I scrolled them out and they will never be used.

 

I hope that gives you a sense of what chaos there is within these pages and how my errant mind tries to assimilate the vast sprawl of a Grand Tour. If you want to win this book as well as a number of other prizes simply follow this link. Hope that you found this of interest.

 

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