Nice is an all-year-round tourist destination but visitor numbers were certainly boosted by having this year’s centenary Tour de France in town. I found myself passing on the email addresses of my friends at Cycle Cote d’Azur and Mec’Azur to visiting cycling-mad tourists.
I first met former GB track and road professional Emma back in 2010 when she was running a training camp for Hot-Chillee, the organisers of London-Paris, from Stephen Roche’s former hotel on the Cote d’Azur. During that camp she fortuitously met triathlete Claire Scrutton (now Blackie) and the two put in motion Cycle Cote d’Azur which, as it enters its third year of operation, I’m pleased to report is going from strength to strength. Finally, we’ve found time in our equally busy schedules to enjoy a coffee and one of my delicious muffins – recipe to follow later in The Musette – and discuss Emma’s distinguished career (sadly cut short by injury), the state of women’s cycling and her current interests. Continue reading
Claire and Anton Blackie run Cycle Cote d’Azur and MecAzur, have recently married (each other) and are good friends with VeloVoices’ Sheree. They’re excited about the Tour pitching up on their doorstep in 2013, especially the Haribo car and the giant dancing Yeti, and are looking forward to introducing new clients to the splendours of cycling around the French Riviera and its hinterland. Here are their ten (joint) wishes:
For Professional Cycling
1. Exciting, attacking racing all season long.
2. An equal footing at major races for pro women.
3. A great Tour de France on the Cote d’Azur.
4. A return to form for Thor Hushovd (BMC) and a win at Paris-Roubaix.
5. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, now with Sky, to return to the Tours of the Haut Var and Med and win again.
For us, while we’re cycling!
1. The end to punctures, broken chains, snapped spokes.
2. Discover more “hidden roads” of the Cote d’Azur.
3. Take part in more fun rides, ie. London-Edinburgh-London 2013, Defi de l’Ubaye, Deux Fois Cingles du Ventoux. [You think cycling from London to Edinburgh and back – 1,400km – is fun! – Ed]
4. A coffee ride in France, with a good coffee.
5. Everyone enjoying riding a bicycle.
Emma Davis, the other half of Cycle Cote d’Azur, is a former professional track and road racer and Eurosport pundit. She met Sheree when she was road captain for Hot Chillee’s famous London-to-Paris ride and now entertains her cycling clientele with a wealth of tales of her derring-do on two wheels. Her ten wishes for cycling in 2013 are as follows:
1. For the sun to shine when the Tour de France is in town so everyone sees how fantastic the Cote d’Azur is (and books to come with our company, Cycle Cote d’Azur).
2. For Mark Cavendish to keep winning and show what a classy rider he is.
3. For Cycle Cote d’Azur to continue to grow and keep discovering new fantastic guides in Nice.
4. Every time I go out on my bike, I’d like the wind to be on my back and the sun in my face.
5. For Tom Boonen to win Flanders again.
6. For cycling to look forward and stop dissecting the past. Let’s draw a line in the sand and move on.
7. For organisers to realise what is humanly capable and not push the riders over their limits. Racing can be fun with shorter stages.
8. For the Tour de France to produce a true and worthy winner. We need to have a positive image for young people coming into the sport.
9. For women’s cycling to get the TV coverage it deserves.
10. For me to get out on my bike more!
10 wishes for 2013