Easy to please, Dutch cycling fans. While the French are caught up in a 20-year wait for a local Tour winner, and the Americans have an ongoing superiority complex, all the Dutch need to keep them happy is a hill and industrial quantities of beer.

The key to watching the Tour in the hills is to get there early. Unfortunately for us, about 10,000 Dutch cycling fans had followed this advice well in advance of our arrival. While the Cycling Weekly Broom Wagon was getting wedged into a car park in a field several miles from the Cauberg, the locals were getting the beers in. But just when we thought we?d be watching the race at the back of a crowd that was 10 deep in places, luck smiled on us. Like the red sea parting, a path opened up through the orange sea of Dutch fans straight to a table in a bar right in front of a television showing the cycling. Our table.

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Edward Pickering is a writer and journalist, editor of Pro Cycling and previous deputy editor of Cycle Sport. As well as contributing to Cycling Weekly, he has also written for the likes of the New York Times. His book, The Race Against Time, saw him shortlisted for Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards. A self-confessed 'fair weather cyclist', Pickering also enjoys running.