It's that time of the year again - the biggest event on the cycling calendar - le Tour de France!
With only a short break back in Australia after my extended Giro d'Italia adventure, plus a slew of professional and personal commitments to squeeze in before leaving again, I am exhausted before le Tour has even begun!
As I sit on the plane, heading back to France, my mind races. As I've said before, there is so much that goes into chasing a grand tour - the gear, the travel, the planning, the negotiating, the adrenalin, the grissini - plus more than a bit of luck. Plus, this year, the added pressure (and privilege) of shooting on behalf of the A.S.O. (the company that runs le Tour). And yet, as with the Giro, I also know I am going to meet some extraordinary characters, have unforgettable experiences, indulge a harebrained adventure or two - and, against the backdrop of chaos, witness the most beautiful sport in the world (in my humble opinion), played out like a soap opera of heroes, villains, tragedy and, ultimately, triumph. All the big names are here - so let the battle begin!
As always, I will strive to bring all of this to life on these pages - so I can share this incredible bike race with you (as well as the stories, and adventures, behind it). The rich tapestry of people, food, culture, glorious countryside and incredible racing that make the Tour de France such a unique, and beautiful, experience for riders and spectators alike.
– Beardy McBeard