Tour de France
Every year in July, an armada of cycling fans from across the globe, focus their attention on France. Having followed the Tour de France personally, I find it difficult to explain the excitement around the event, the adrenaline rush as you see your favorite cyclist zoom past you in just a few words. Other work commitments have restricted my travel to France for TdF this year however, yours truly will follow it with unmatched passion through the electronic media and try to keep you all in the loop.
The biggest annual sports event on a global scale is in its 99th year and will commence on 30th June this year and we await this epic saga being enacted over 3500km of France, Belgium & Switzerland in the history of this event.
The biggest and most prestigious cycling palmares in the professional cycling world this year will see the top 22 teams in the globe put up their best 9 riders to take the glory in the 21 days of racing. The race starts off from Liege, Belgium on 30th June with a short prologue and finishes as traditionally on the streets of Paris, on the Champs-Élysées on the 22nd of July.
This year the race promises more for the quick men on the cycles, than the climbers, as there are almost 9 flat stages & 2 individual time trails apart from the prologue. But all that apart, with 3 mountain summit finishes and almost 9 mountain stages, it might still be the climbers who might have the final say!
The 2011 champion Cadel Evans of BMC Racing team is all set to defend his crown and at 35, he is still an old warhorse who knows just when to up the ante. To add to this is the experience of their road captain George Hincapie, who will be participating in a record 17th Tour. (He plans to ride just one more race after TdF this year before ending his professional career)
Who will win the tour this time, is anyone’s guess right now. But be sure to watch out for a few names that the author feels will be in the limelight this year – Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Levi Leipheimer, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Ivan Basso, Bradley Wiggins and a youngster going by the name of Marcel Kittel, just to name a few.
The TdF annually draws a crowd of over 20 million fans to this beautiful sport. With a television audience of over 6 million everyday and an internet audience of over a million fresh eyes daily, this event is telecast in over 150 countries. With over 75 countries doing the LIVE coverage and over 2500 journalists covering this event, it is little wonder that this sporting event is much awaited every year.
The tourism angel on this event is so big, that its now officially rated as one of the biggest tourism draws in the world. This tour visits some of the most beautiful parts of Europe and this allows for the hotel industry to get a new lease of life. This year some of the places that the tour is going to touch include –
* Serainge in Belgium – a small town with a Glass Museum & a Crystal factory, as also Macrales, who are the local witches!!
* Tournai, another Belgium city with the Romanesque- and Gothic-style cathedral of
Notre Dame de Tournai and the belfry, the oldest in Belgium, which have been jointly designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
* Rouen, a town in France which is also the historic capital city of Normandy, the city where Joan of Arc was burnt!
* Limoux, Foix, Pau, Bagneres de Luchon, Peyragudes,…etc are just few of the towns that one can straight away list out.
14th of July, is the Republic Day / Bastille Day in France. A day that is a national holiday and in the evening there are mega fireworks in all major cities. This year the Tour happens to be near Montpellier on 14th July, so expect a spectacular night show in the skies followed by parties through the night in the city.
For who will wear the Yellow jersey of the Winner of Tour de France remains to be seen and will be known on the 22nd of July on the streets of Paris.
Like Bucketlist Travel on Facebook to get daily updates with travel tips, quotes & more. You can also subscribe to our blog here…