The 2003 plaquette saw some significant departures from the earlier publications. For staters there were actually two plaquette this time around - one in French, one in English - a change probably inspired by the fact that for the first time there were more foreign PBP entries than French.
The biggest change is in the presentation of the time results. The results from 1999 and before have been listed in order of finishing time. In 2003 the times are still indicated, but the names are arranged alphabetically within national groupings. (The French results are listed alphabetically by region.) Conspicuously absent are the ride accounts by the first finishers in the various categories. There are no photos of the "winners" either, for the first time. The message seems to be that the long tradition of PBP as a semi-competitive cyclo-tourist event may be coming to an end. This change of emphasis in the plaquette may have been brought on in part by the particularly contentious situation with the lead men. The six first finishers saw their course record erased by time penalties. Though not mentioned in the plaquette there were harsh words about the poor behavior of some of the lead riders, and bad feelings on both sides.
In general, the design quality of 2003 plaquette is excellent. In addition to the many tributes and ride testimonials from around the world, there are some useful statistical tables, and other interesting features. There are many good photos as well, though not all of these are big enough to reproduce with sufficient clarity. Still, I've done my best with 38 images, below. [Eric F.]
PBP 2003 Vital Statistics:
Participants (Starters): 4069
A selection of Photos from the 2003 Plaquette
can be found in the PBP Photos Section elsewhere on this site.
The 2003 Plaquette:
(Click to enlarge)