Today the Tour de France took off in Leeds, Great Britain. It’s a fact that the Tour became very popular over the past few years in that country. The credits for that mostly go to Mark Cavendish, who already has won many stages in the Tour de France. Still, Bradley Wiggins is the one that can call himself ‘Sir’ in Great Britain, because he won the biggest race of the world in 2012. He will not be there this year. Mark Cavendish will start though and all eyes are on him.
That was already the case two days ago, when the team presentation was held. There was a good vibe, the crowd was loud, riders were laughing on stage. And taking selfies. Wait. What? Selfies? Yes. If you don’t know what ‘selfies’ are, you must have been living under a rock for at least two years. According to the Oxford English Dictionary a selfie is a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. The selfie already became popular at the beginning of the zeroes, when social media sites like MySpace were used widely by young people. It acquired a profile picture and most of the users posted a picture of themselves, taken with the webcam. When Facebook gained more popularity in the next years, selfies were made a lot less and the ‘normal’ photographs were the standard again. Nevertheless, technology stands for nothing and with the introduction of a front-facing camera built into the smartphone in 2010, the selfie was reborn. In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary even made it the ‘word of the year’.
The selfie is here to stay. Many people all over the world take selfies. It is a popular phenomenon. And the more people in the selfie, the merrier. Of course everyone still remembers the selfie made by comedian an tv host Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars this year. This popular selfie was probably also in the minds of the people working at the organisation of the Tour de France. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the teams would do a selfie before the tour presentation? And then post the selfie on the official Twitter account of the Tour de France? So it happened. Photos were made (in some blue room, apparently). Lots of hilarious photos. Weird photos. Serious photos. They are all there. I did not know that the OPQS team only existed out of Mark Cavendish? And that Lotto-Belisol is starting this Tour with only four riders? Where were the other five? Maybe they had a bad hair day or they had to get to the bathroom in a hurry. And all the other Lampre riders were probably eating a banana somewhere in that same room and only Rui Costa had time to be part of the selfie.
Strange. I miss two teams. There are no selfies of the IAM Cycling Team and the Trek Factory Racing Team (I can hear all the Schleck-fans crying out loud in my head now). Perhaps deleted by accident? Or did those teams refuse to do it? Or just walked by and said: “selfies are so 2013.” There is no explanation for that anywhere on the Twitter account of the Tour. They do claim that they made the photos by putting the hashtag ‘TDFselfie’ in the lower right corner of each photo. But let’s be honest, these selfies are no real selfies. The riders are just looking at a big screen, making a weird face (Laurens ten Dam from Team Belkin), roll with their eyes (Lotto-Belisol) or give their best smile (Romain Bardet of AG2R). These are just photos of the riders of each team. They were not taken with a smartphone or by one of the riders of the team. However, the Tour organization did place them on a social media website. Still, that does not instantly make them selfies. The Tour probably wanted to show that they are aware of the selfie hype and wanted to be a part of that in order to promote their event. A nice idea and it sure provided us with some hilarious photos, but they might have to check the explanation of the word ‘selfie’ again in the Oxford English Dictionary. Based on that definition, we have to call the ‘TDFselfie’ action a #fail.