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Image courtesy Tess Kincaid
Freewheeling along the twisting country lane on a fine July day Marianne relished the warm air caressing her naked breasts. Tossing her head back, her long blonde hair streaming out behind her, she looked up and, extending her right arm, pointed her index finger at the sky. She felt that if she reached just a little higher she would be able to touch the brightest star in the heavens.
‘Sirius,’ she murmured, ‘the Dog Star, more ancient than time. I’ll look out for him tonight. What a wonderful way to spend a holiday, cycling by day and stargazing by night.’
The road surface was becoming rutted and Marianne realised she must concentrate if she were to avoid an accident. Still caught in her reverie she didn’t notice the crowds lining the way. Dimly, she heard roaring and gradually understood that people were cheering and clapping. A motorcycle passed her, the pillion passenger wielding a large video-camera. Seconds later a cyclist in bright, skin-tight shorts and jersey sped past, followed at a short distance by several other cyclists. Cars carrying quantities of bicycles tracked them.
As Marianne absorbed all this she heard a whirring behind her that grew in intensity but before she had an opportunity to risk looking over her shoulder she found herself, to her alarm, being carried along in a mass of men and machines. None of them appeared to notice her nudity, so concentrated were they on maintaining their individual cadences. The different colours of the helmets and racing strip made an eye-catching kaleidoscope of high speed motion. At last, Marianne realised that somehow she had been caught up in the peloton in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France.
When the racers crossed the finishing line, officials rushed forward to offer Marianne a jersey; it wasn’t green, yellow, white or polka-dotted but black and knee-length. Blushing, she was led away to be interviewed by the race committee.