Remember the day the Tour de France came to Harrogate?

Has the flurry of excitement surrounding the wildcard team announcements* for this year’s Tour de France intensified your longing for La Grande Boucle? Never fear! I have an audio treat that will transport you back to stage one of last year’s edition. That fantastic day in Yorkshire when the sun shone, the crowds turned out and the racing was fine.

What do you get if you take some poets, new to the allure of a bike race, to experience Le Tour for the day? The answer is a tiny jewel of a BBC Radio 4 programme called Fear and Loathing in Harrogate.

It seems an unlikely premise and yet there are many sparkles in the 30 minute broadcast. John Cooper Clark, dressed in sky blue loafers and an unstructured blazer ( I wish there were visuals for this bit), reminiscing on sexy drop handlebars and how he was set free on the bike. Belgian cobble maestro Kenny Van Vlaminck. And perhaps my favourite, Earl Broad channelling Alan Bennett (at 9:07 mins):

150,000 spectators, I should cocoa.

However, like the racing itself, the availability of this broadcast is a fleeting flash of brilliance, so catch it on the BBC iPlayer website now. Sit back, relax, maybe have a pint of Yorkshire’s finest … you won’t regret it.

* In case you missed it, this year’s five Tour de France wildcard teams are: Bora-Argon 18, Bretagne-Séché Environnement, Cofidis, MTN-Qhubeka and Europcar (F).

Featured Image: Harrogate dressed for the day

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