Arrivez à Champs Elysees Avec Flechage du Tour

Tour for Kika

Paris. The team, all 15 riders, made it safely to the capital yesterday. Led by the Tours own Flechage team (with klaxons ringing and lights flashing) they rode straight up the Champs Elysees ... at one point taking the full width of the grand avenue towards the Arc de Triomphe. They popped champagne corks and drained their glasses en route just like the pros. Hundreds of Parisians and tourists cheered them on as I hung out our photo car shooting like mad. At the Arc we took more photos under the bemused stares of the Gendarmes, unaccustomed to this kind of escorted arrival en masse. It was a spectacular finale to our great adventure. From there we traveled to the Anquetil Velodrome, where the Tour used to finish, for a reception with 150 friends, family, the Mayor of Rotterdam and the Dutch Ambassador. The team presented an interim check for 100,000 Euros to the Mayor for Kika.

Tour for Kika Tour for Kika

A party followed in the evening, which was still going strong when we left it just after 1am. I've never felt so welcomed by the families and friends. Juli was there too. Wonderful to see her appear out of the crowd on the Champ Elysees and become part of our new Dutch family. I have lots to fill in when I'm home. Thanks for reading along. It was the trip of a lifetime for the riders, girlfriends/wives (so helpful), Wilfred and his Cycling Dutchman team (Wouter, Leone, Stefan, Peter, Bos and Melanie) and me. We owe a huge thank you to the men of the Flechage unit. Their 40,000 yellow arrows kept us on track right across France. Having them with us on the Champs Elysees was incredible. Also joining us were our two French compatriots who also rode the entire Tour. Finally special thoughts go out to Melanie and her little girl who was injured back home yesterday, and to teammate Joost Vastert who lost his mother to cancer a month before the Tour for Kika began. Nice to see him ride into Paris with his father and two brothers.

Tour for Kika

I love these guys and can't say enough about what they accomplished. I hope to see many of them again, this kind of bond is not easily forgotten or broken. Wilfred and I are already talking about organizing a Tour for next year, but this one will always be unique.

20 Responses to Arrivez à Champs Elysees Avec Flechage du Tour

  1. Michael it’s been a real pleasure watching the progress of the team around Europe through your camera lenses, great photography and a fabulous dramatic and exciting end to the event. Must have been very emotional coming up the Champs Élysées with the whole team and the crowd cheering.
    Glad that Juli was able to join in the fun at the end, what a story to tell when you get back to California.
    Enjoy the more restful days in France and have a great trip home.

    All the very best
    Douglas

    • Hi Douglas,

      It was a cracker of a day. We’re off to test our touring legs this morning… Juli has two districts planned for our reconnaissance today, but the good news is that a cafe is never more than 100 metres away as a rest stop.

      I slept like someone pole axed me the last two nights

      ::M

  2. NickM says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Its been a pleasure to follow along on this adventure. Breathtaking photography, as usual!

    • Nick,

      I think I did a good job… but couldn’t be everwhere. Nice to see some of the images from the girlfriends and parents that I missed

      ::M

  3. Jeanine says:

    How good to see they made it!! Thank you for your pictures and stories, made it possible to experience this very special tour just a little.

  4. Siu Ling says:

    Thank you for keeping us informed both textually and visually. Every morning the first thing I did was look at your blog and photos. As a “from home” member of the cheering teäm it was as if I was right there at the roadside cheering them on.

    • frank G says:

      Nice Job Mike!

      • thanks Frank,

        don’t know where that month just went… seems only a few days ago I was sitting in Harlem having lunch with you and Esther. A big email when I get back.

        ::M

    • Siu Ling,

      The team definitely felt the energy from the home team right through France. It pushed them over those crazy mountain passes. Thank you for tuning in. I’ll have a couple more posts about the trip when I get back home and have time to write something longer.

      ::M

  5. Diana Anglade says:

    I’ve followed your tour every day from the beginning reading your blogs and catching anything I could on the news.
    Congratulations to everyone involved in this incredible, awesome feat. You are all heroes.

  6. Tes says:

    Michael, thanks for keeping us posted with the boys’ progress. Stunning shots, really enjoyed the blog.

  7. iorus says:

    It was a fantastic day Saturday when you guys came to the Arc. Loved all the emotions there. Good meeting you, eventhough it only was a very short talk. Have enjoyed your photo’s a lot, I can only hope to come close to your “eye”.

  8. Hi Michael,

    No words…….
    Thanks for being….the sunset on the bridge, the carrots, and much more!

    Goodluck and till the next years!

    Wil.

  9. Helmer says:

    Hi Michael,
    beautiful pictures, wonderful to have you with the team. I look forward to your book, I think it will also make a nice gift for anyone who has doubts about his/her next challenge in life.
    Helmer.

  10. Elke says:

    Hello Michael,

    It was a great adventure. An adventure that Elmer and I will never forget. I am looking forward to be able to look into your photobook of the Tour for KiKa. Thank you a lot for the beautiful photos and your company and support!

    All the best!
    Elke

  11. BR says:

    Gefeliciteerd en ik ben erg trots op u allen. Je reed een Tour de France en dat is geweldig!

    Great ride all of you guys!!!!!

    Michael – we have some miles to ride so hurry home. Hi Juli!

  12. Melanie says:

    I really enjoid to be around you and the others the last days and to see for real what it means. Thanks to the lovely pics I can imagine the rest, the champs elysees must have been fantastic. I will be happy to support for booking hotels etc… the next year as well. Unfortunatly I had to leave in a hurry and could not finish the party as I wanted. Was glad of course Wilfred was there and joined me on the way back home as planned. Louise is fine, it was the whole situation around that was complicated. Never come close to a donky if you’re not sure about it’s caracter, keep the carrots for yourself!

  13. Haley says:

    Hi Michael,

    It’s terrific to see these pictures. I know for sure it will make the memories of the tour even nicer for the boys. It’s really wonderful you did this.
    Also want to say that I loved being your chauffeur for the final stage, what a great ride it was, hope your back survived ;)

    I can’t wait to see all the pictures! …but first… enjoy your holiday!

    All the best,
    Haley