An early start on the eve of the 111th Tour de France offered a chance to walk the streets of Florence without the usual crowds of tourists. As I arrived at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore I stumbled upon an art installation by Karl Kopinski. 


– Photos by Rob Arnold


A series of inflatable bubbles – half of which are bold colours, the other half see-through material with portraits of cyclists associated with the Tour de France – lie in wait for the hordes of tourists who are visiting Florence today.

The installation by Karl Kopinski is part of the celebrations for Italy’s first Tour de France Grand Départ. It features images of the darlings of Italian cycling, Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, as well as contemporary riders who will be part of the peloton of 176 riders in this year’s race, including Mark Cavendish, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Tom Pidcock, and Tadej Pogacar.

There are also portraits of Jaques Anquetil, Marco Pantani and Peter Sagan.

Titled ‘Remporter le Jaune’ the one anomaly of the 10 riders featured is Pidcock from Ineos Grenadiers. Yes, he has won a stage of the race but unlike the nine others featured, he has not worn the yellow jersey… yet.

If you happen to be in Florence you can see the bubbles on the eastern side of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in an exhibition that combines art and cycling. Scroll down for a look at some of the portraits of this unique display.


– Rob