Tag Archives: Road Biking

The Tour de France: addictive wanderings through the French countryside

(posting again because The Tour is as addictive as in previous years. And this year a knobby Brit is leading, which is entertaining on its own)

Yes, I am going to continue sounding my weak trumpet and shouting about how addictive the Tour de France is, once you allow yourself to spend a couple hours getting into the rhythm of it.

Already this year, the Tour has provided a photo-finish and a few note-worthy crashes, plus a 4th of July victory by an American rider. The team trial, brought back this year to keep the overall classification as tight as possible for as long as possible, was a curious thing to watch, but less entertaining than most stages. But with that out of the way, what remains are some flat and long stages, which usually include the compelling escapes-and-catches, and the mountain stages, always the best part of the Tour.

As always, the team work, the speed on the descents, the mad sprints to the line, the hypnotic images, viewed from a helicopter, of 100+ bikers packed close together and winding through country roads in France — all of those are reasons to tune in for any stage, but the ones that stand out coming up are:

Stage 14 – Saint-Gaudens Plateau de Beille (July 16): 6 category climbs, ending with a “beyond category climb.” The highlight might be the descent off the Category 1 climb (just a little less difficult than Beyond Category) mid-way through the stage.

Stage 18 – Pinerolo Galibier Serre-Chevalier (July 21): 3 Beyond Category climbs and the highest altitude finish in Tour de France history. And the descent after the second climb might be Beyond Beyond Category if they tried to ride up it.

And 7:05 pm starts for baseball usually end by 10pm, which gives you (Otto) an hour’s worth of Tour de France before lights out at 11 (if you’re not up early watching it live, of course).