Crowds cheered as the peloton came to Kent
It is 10 years since thousands of people lined the streets of Kent to watch and cheer as the Tour de France passed through the county. On Sunday, July 8, 2007, the world’s top cyclists raced from Greenwich to Canterbury, including King of the Mountain sections at Southborough, Goudhurst and Farthing Common, north of Folkestone.
The route passed through Dartford, Gravesend, Rochester, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Tenterden and Ashford before the finish.
A Tour tradition, the publicity caravan that precedes the race also proved a hit with spectators, as giant floats carried people in fancy dress handing out gifts.
It was the first racing stage of that year’s Tour, with the prologue time trial held in London the previous day.
Among the riders in the lineup for the London to Canterbury stage was Bradley Wiggins – now Sir Bradley – who became Britain’s first Tour winner in 2012.
Then racing for the French team Cofidis – several years before the formation of Team Sky – Wiggins was already wellknown as an Olympic gold medallist.
Future world champion Mark Cavendish was also in the field and hoping for his first Tour de
France stage victory in Canterbury.
But he suffered mechanical problems – as well as obstruction from a fan – and missed the sprint finish, which was won by Australian Robbie McEwen.
The following year, Cavendish kicked off his string of 30 stage wins in the Tour.
That year’s race later became mired in doping controversy, as three riders and two teams were withdrawn following positive tests.
The overall winner was Spanish rider Alberto Contador.
Bradley Wiggins (front red jersey) in the peloton when the 2007 Tour de France came to Kent; Wiggins would go on to win the race in 2012 – becoming Britain’s first-ever tour winner
The main group attack Goudhurst hill