Sunday, 22 June 2014

On Tour

This year's Tour de France Grand Depart in July  is from the north of England which will be just a short trip over the Pennines for me and I'm overexcited about that fact so I've chosen a cycling theme for Sunday Stamps. The above cover uses one of the 1978 Cycling stamps which featured what was then called The Milk Race, a road race named after the sponsors, the Milk Marketing Board.  The cover itself  is a commemoration of the World Cycling Championships which in 1982 were split between Goodwood and Leicester. (The distinctive striped jersey on the stamp is that of World Champion which will be worn for the year of racing by the winner of that accolade).  Leicester twice hosted the UCI World Championships in 1970 and 1982; both bikes and clothing have altered radically since then.
2012: Olympic Gold Medals
Here is Bradley Wiggins winning Olympic gold in the Men's Time Trial. Royal Mail issued stamps for all the gold medallists in super quick time reaching 500 key post offices by lunch time the day after the gold medal win, at least one of those post offices would be a branch in the winners home town. The year of 2012 was an amazing year for Wiggins as he also won the Tour de France
and the Isle of Man included him on their set celebrating the 100th edition of the race in 2013 ( bottom right).

The eight stamp images portray the great champions, starting on the top row with
  • 1p Eugène Christophe,, the first rider to wear the now famous Maillot Jaune of the race leader although he complained that the spectators called him a yellow canary.  Riding 11 tours he never won `overal victory but his career was full of incident such as the time he had to weld together his bike during the race. During World War 1 he was part of the French Cycling Battalion and was a pioneer of cyclo-cross. 
  • 40p The Manx Missile himself, Mark Cavendish wearing the green points jersey in the 2011 Tour.  He is the most successful sprinter in Tour de France history and has won many stages often propelled by his pedalling team mates when he he then takes off at high speed to the finishing line.
  • 42p Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage and pictured in the 1960 Tour. It is also significant because he is from Yorkshire where this year's Tour will start and is their cycling ambassador.
  • 60p Spain's Miguel Indurain who won from 1991 to 1995 (the stamp shows the 1992 Tour)
 Bottom Row L to R
  • 73p Jacques Anquetil, won in 1957 and then four in a row 1961 to 1964. The stamp shows him in 1963.
  • 108p Eddy Merckx, "The Cannibal' considered the greatest racing cyclist ever won on his Tour début in 1969 and would win five titles, the stamps shows him racing in the 1970 Tour.
  • 110p Bernard Hinault also won five times, injury preventing him from competing in some years, the stamp shows him in 1979.
  • 120p Bradley Wiggins, first British Tour de France winner in 2012.

For more than 50 years the Isle of Man has held the International Cycling Festival which has attracted many Tour de France riders to the island, and some of those featured on the stamps.  Its love affair with cycling continues for they are going to issue stamps and postcards for the Tour this year calling it "The Road to Paris". The ultimate destination being the iconic finishing point of the Champs-Élysées circuit when no doubt every Manx person will be urging Mark Cavendish to speed to the finish line and win the stage as he did his in his record breaking four years in a row (2009-2012).

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps here


Postcardy said...

We could not have stamps of gold medalists here--no living persons on U.S. stamps.

Heleen said...

I love bicycles - although I'm a slow cyclist - and I love these stamps!

Little Nell said...

Ah yes, the Milk Race; I had forgottten that. You’re right, these stamps really show the change in fashion and technical details.

viridian said...

A great collection of stamps. I assume you are going over the Pennines to see the start? Have a great time.
thank you for joining in.

Bob Scotney said...

I never succeeded in obtaining a Gold Medal stamp at our local Post Office.
Those Isle of man stamps are a superb set. I surprised myself by knowing almost all the riders.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I've gradually become more interested in the Tour de France ever since it passed us in Hampshire all those years ago. My husband tried to explain the tactics to me once.

Ana said...

i always get extra excited when it comes to anything bicycles-related, so these stamps were just a thrill and treat! love them!!

Canadian Chickadee said...

How interesting! What a great collection. xoxox

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