Construction lawyer Chris Hill is among those cycling to MIPIM for charity this year. On Sunday the peloton left London on its long pedal to the South of France.
The prologue to the Tour de France is (apparently) one of the most hotly contested stages of the race because it determines the starting positions of the riders - and so it proved for the prologue to the Cycle2Cannes on Sunday 5 March.
For the first time (almost) the full field assembled outside Buckingham Palace at 9:30am. Considerable sums had clearly been spent in bicycle shops (had I begun this blog a week earlier I would have recommended that you buy shares in cycling equipment companies). What is more it was all carbon frames and Italian shirts. No one appeared to have visited Halford's except perhaps one interloper who came along for the ride on an ancient, oily sit up and beg commuter bike and seemed to go as fast as anyone else.
The undisputed star of our firmament is Marcus Escott - plainly the only real cyclist - who appeared immaculately turned out in matching powder blue shirt and Colnago (that's an Italian bike). Photographs were taken with prominent architect Maxwell Hutchinson (I am not quite sure why), including one of Maxwell handing our leader Peter Murray what appeared to be a very large pink battery operated sex toy but which I am told is in fact the baton we are carrying all the way to Cannes to give to Ken Livingstone. We failed to suppress a smirk and the thought of the look on Ken Livingstone's face as Peter hands him this thing in front of 20,000 baying property developers next Tuesday will keep me going through the cold dark nights of cycling through the French Countryside to come.
All safely arrived in Canterbury more or less on programme and sat down to a huge and well deserved lunch. The only real danger and excitement on the journey were regular tongue lashings from tete du course James Burland who patrolled up and down the peloton all day shouting orders like "single out" or "double up" - as if we knew what he was talking about. There will be a little light training during the week (today is a rest day) and then we set off in earnest for la belle France at 2:00 am on Friday morning