The Tour from the inside

TV sports coverage is truly spectacular these days but for any great sporting event, nothing beats witnessing the drama at first hand. Okay, maybe it's not so good if you're below two metres in height but by being part of the crowd you're part of the Tour itself!

We last witnessed a Tour stage on foreign soil back in 2012, when we were privileged enough to see history in the making as (Sir) Bradley Wiggins lapped the Champs-Élysées clad in yellow. Fast forward to 2015 and Utrecht, the Dutch city hosting the Grand Depart. We find ourselves rubbing shoulders with the world's cycling press in an exhibition arena-sized media centre.

We're still as starstruck by the Tour as we were before launching the magazine. The sheer size and scale of the event still blows us away. Some might dismiss it as a cash cow - a cynical money-making opportunity - but for us it's still the greatest spectacle road cycling has to offer.

When we were offered the chance to witness the opening stages of this year's event as part of the press community, there was a split second of hesitation caused by a fear that we might lose our Tour innocence and become drawn into the cynical world of cycling journalism we so hate and resist. But on the plus side we were being presented with every fan's dream of behind-the-scenes access to exclusive areas where the team buses are situated, mechanics fettle bikes and riders warm up. On this basis we were prepared to take our chances!

We can't say too much more about how our day(s) unfolded - you'll have to wait for issue 8 to find out more - but let's just say we're still smiling about the experience days after returning.

It's great watching the Tour on TV but it's so much more special to go in person to become part of the show. Remember, you still have two and a half weeks. Go on, get involved!