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Tour de France 2020

It’s here, starting Saturday, August 29, in just a few hours, the rescheduled 2020 Tour de France! It’s been one of our in-person highlight of past trips, seeing the spectacle of the race, with ravenous fans lining the route, the anticipatory caravan of vehicles, and trinkets being distributed in the lead-up to the cyclists, the actual athletes fighting their ways along the route, and the finish line stage results announcement ceremony. It’s so French, and so international, and so fun.

Is anyone here planning to attend? Any personal pandemic precautions? Any memories to share of past Tours?

Allez, allez!

Posted by
5547 posts

We were due to be in France for 5 weeks including seeing a couple of stages of the TdF around Oleron, but our trip was cancelled at short notice when the U.K. put France on its “do not travel” list. We saw the team presentation and a couple of stages 2 years ago.

The team presentation 2 days before the race start and seeing behind the scenes in the buses was fascinating. Security was virtually non existent (you would never be allowed so close in the U.K.) and we rubbed shoulders with G as he got off the team bus and our wishes obviously worked as he won that year!

I think there’s a fair chance we won’t see the end of this year’s race if French infections continue to rise as it’s difficult to cut out the crowds.

Posted by
220 posts

@Cyn
20th Stage individual time trial 2011.

Stay safe. Time is a traveller.

Regards Ron

Posted by
8403 posts

The fans aren't allowed anywhere near any of the teams. If two team members test positive, the team is disqualified.
There is a segment about the Tour on the French news every day right now. It's in French, but you can see how the process is unfolding: France 2 Infos or anything similar will get you there.

Posted by
149 posts

In a Pre-Covid world, I had dreamed of going to the Tour this year with my kids and parents. Maybe in 2022 (I don’t want to get my hopes up for any travel in ‘21.) My dad has had similar experiences of getting close to the riders and announcers (he met Bobke several years back). The Tour is big in my family, and with the Olympics postponed, this has been a bright spot for me, something to look forward to in these monotonous times.

I’m all in for Thibaut Pinot this year, and can’t wait to see Peter Sagan defend his Green Jersey!

Posted by
743 posts

Watching Stage 1 right now live on TV in the US! The NBC networks are broadcasting, and TV5 retransmission in the afternoon.

So many of my Julys in France were timed to coincide with specific stages. I always tried to see the final mountain stage, rest days when they happened in Provence (the racers were all over the town, easy to meet at cafes, or out on training rides.). And of course the final Champs Elysées arrival.

Now I’m just loving the view of the countryside. And the spectators with all their masks on. Let’s all hope and pray for a safe, healthy and exciting race.

Posted by
260 posts

I saw 4 stages of the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France. The crowds, parades and riders passing was so exiting for us bike geeks. The mountain and individual time trial stages were most exciting as the riders are spread out. We followed the Tour across southern France and enjoyed the food and countryside. The group rented a gite on a family vineyard and got bicycles for the week. It was a renovated pigeonaire. Sharing wine and dinner overlooking the vineyard with the sunset each evening was spectacular. They had tv coverage of the Tour for the days we were there. Watching Lance Armstrong battle his way to win 5 was thrilling. Let’s not get into the conditions that was present during these years. That’s history. It was an exciting time to be a fan. Allez!

Posted by
2719 posts

Besides a great race, it’s an extraordinary 3 week travelogue. Vive le Tour!

Posted by
4003 posts

Stage 1 was great. Glad nobody was seriously injured in the multiple accidents. Plenty of fans (most wearing masks although they were mandated) along the route. Watching the Tour will be the closest I will get to Europe this year.

Posted by
1767 posts

Great start. Always fun to watch of you have been to some place theybride, in this case Nice

Posted by
1821 posts

I love watching sports but nothing compares to le Tour for me. I was the happiest I have been in months this morning watching the race and I yelled out loud when Lopez hit that sign! What a brutal course they set out this year and the weather made it even more so today. I'm sad to say that Phil sounds older but as much as I miss Paul, Bobke seems to have improved and was really on top of things today. Knew the names and background of many landmarks along the route which was one of the things I appreciated about Paul. One day I'll see the race in person.

Posted by
1 posts

My wife and I were fortunate enough to follow the tour in 2002 for a couple of stages, one being on Mt. Ventoux and the other being the finish on the Champs-Elysees. Yes...it was a Lance “victory” but incredible nonetheless. People from all over and really a spectacle. I suppose it’s like maybe being on the sidelines for the super bowl. In 2019, I achieved my ultimate goal and rode in the Etape du Tour, from Albertville to Val Thorens. Next to getting married and my kids being born it was the great thing I have ever done. It’s was 8 long hours in the saddle but worth every minute. It was a dream of mine since I watched Greg Lemond win the the tour in high school. If you are a cycling fan and like to ride I highly suggest getting a spot. It really is like being a part of the tour. You can sign up on the day it opens, usually in October. It’s easy to do and relatively inexpensive for the experience. I was supposed to ride it again this year in Nice, which was today’s stage (stage 2) but ... Hopefully I’ll get another chance.

Posted by
8291 posts

Love, love, love the TdF. And Phil and Bob. Miss Paul very much.

We watched the Final Stage in Paris in 2001. Such a fun experience. Met Lance after the ceremony as he rode his bike a bit in large circles at the end of the Champs but near Hotel Crillon. Loved Lance too, back in the day.

Posted by
781 posts

I met up with some members of an online fan group to watch the Paris stage in 2004. Armstrong "won" that year, and the final stage was won by Tom Boonen. We stationed ourselves at the Rond Point des Champs Elysees (near Franklin Roosevelt Metro) about 6 hours before the race was due to pass and had a great time waiting and front row places.

What I remember most about the experience was the speed of the racers (~50 km/h) and the sheer noise of 180 odd racers mashing as hard as they could on the pedals (we were on the downhill side of the Champs). I have some great video.

Every year the voice of Phil Liggett tells me all is OK with the world. I miss Paul Sherwen by his side too.

Posted by
8291 posts

“Every year the voice of Phil Liggett tells me all is OK with the world.”
So well said darren, and exactly how i feel.

Posted by
959 posts

Seems weird to be watching the TdF in September but well said about Phil telling us all is OK with the world. I for one do not miss Paul Sherwen but sad about his passing. I think Bob Roll will grow nicely into the side kick roll (no pun intended).

Had hotels booked in Liege for the Grand Depart in 2012 but had to cancel when I could not find return flights home. The travel agent said it was related to the Olympics but that didn't make sense to me.

We were supposed to be in Nice in May - I loved watching stages 1 and 2 as a "substitute".

Posted by
2246 posts

Something's not right about Froomie and Geraint. Recent Tour winners. Very suspicious.

No. Not everything is suspicious.

"This decision likely has to do with Froome’s and Thomas’s performances as the racing season has started back up again. Specifically, the recent Critérium du Dauphiné is considered a telling precursor to (and fitness indicator for) the Tour; Thomas placed 37th overall, while Froome placed 71st."

https://www.bicycling.com/tour-de-france/a33645915/chris-froome-geraint-thomas-left-off-team-ineos-roster-tour-de-france-2020/

The job of a team is to win. Egan Bernal, at age 23, is a better bet to lead this year than the (other) former TdF winners on the team, so they stay home. Due to Covid, team size was reduced this year to 8 riders, from 10, and there you have it. With 10 riders, they'd certainly be good support, but it was not to be.

As for Nairo, there were too many stars/potential stars on the Movistar team, he was not getting the support a guy like him deserves. Interesting about Nairo Quintana, he grew up at 8000 foot or so elevation; he rode his bike downhill to school every morning, then uphill-seventeen miles-to get home.

Posted by
6616 posts

We watched the tour come in on the Champs one year when Lance won -- it was thrilling and because they pass by 16 times you can actually see them. We watched the Dauphine one year at the beginning of Mont Ventou outside of Bedoin -- they were pedaling up hill so did get a good look and some great pictures. My photos on the Champ Elysees were a joke -- they went by so fast, I got nothing much.

Posted by
8291 posts

The peloton used to go up the Champs and around 10 times (not 16), but for the last 2 yrs or so it’s been reduced to 8 times i believe.

Posted by
8291 posts

I so agree about the commercials. It’s ridiculous. There’s more commercials than TdF. I can’t get the France broadcast so i’m stuck with constant fast-forwarding.

Posted by
2246 posts

The commercials are why I pay ($50-60/year) for the NBC Sports cycling subscription. I get the TdF and can watch two different feeds when I want: The standard feed with Phil, Bob, Christian, and Chris, with commercials, or the same video feed without any commercials at all, with two great commentators-whose names escape me at the moment-and I flip back and forth, getting the best of both worlds. I don't choose to have cable, so it's my only monthly TV bill.

Posted by
743 posts

Susan, do you have access to TV5 Monde, perhaps you can take a month subscription. They have a daily retransmission midday, and during the France2 commercial breaks, the broadcast continues without commentary. I love that part, just the sounds of the race and the spectators.

Posted by
260 posts

Today is a rest day for the riders of the Tour. We will miss seeing the French countryside and towns in real time. Yesterday was a race changer. We rooted for the young rider who lead the race up and down mountains until the end. Have a new yellow jersey with a lot more time between the nearest chasers. Tuesday morning we will tune in for stage 9. It’s raining outside or I would go on a 2-3 hour bike ride today in the cool fall weather. Happy Labor Day.

Posted by
3110 posts

In addition to watching the race and countryside we love seeing how the French villages and farmers enliven this event. This year we’ve enjoyed the extra field displays with their animation elements, so clever. Yesterday it was the goat cheese field sign waving, today the beating heart. Go spectators! We’ve been able to see portions of the TdF 5 times over the years in various places but another kick for us is to drive through a town that has been on the route and see the displays at roundabouts, bridges, fields and building that remain long after the tour has pass through.

Posted by
2246 posts

We loved the goat cheese sign! Such pride of place is good to see.

Posted by
133 posts

I am trying to find something on the internet about the cheese sign. It sounds interesting. Any help in finding it, say on You Tube?

Posted by
3110 posts

Sorry Judy I can’t find it either. My husband erased our DVR of stage 11 so I can’t find it there for you either but if someone else has access to stage 11 it might be possible to find it. With today’s beating heart my husband actually reversed the footage to video the display on the screen with his phone so we saved that snippet. The goat image was like a giant postage stamp in the field with writing above it, hay bales and people doing a synchronized movement around the “frame”.

I thought there might be a competition or archive of these field art displays over the years but I have been unable to find anything so complete. There are YouTube videos of human clock mechanisms and tractor driven spokes of giant bicycles but not everything the helicopters capture is preserved for those of us so easily entertained I guess.

Posted by
8291 posts

Barbara, that’s a great idea. I’ll definitely look into that. Thank you!

Posted by
8291 posts

racquet, your description way up thread about watching the 5 stages and staying in a gite overlooking a vineyard sounds fantastic!

Posted by
220 posts

@Judy

May I suggest the website http://www.steephill.tv/ . On the right hand side Race Dashboards select Tour de France 20/19. There you will find summary of every day’s racing. Highlight packages maybe restricted to specific countries. It seems nbcsports has a 19 min 48 sec package. If you have a VPN you can access the 52 min SBS package. Hope it works for you.

Also, most in the great south land think Sagan deserved the penalty.

Regards Ron

Posted by
2246 posts

Sagan was officially "relegated" to last in the group (85th place) after bumping Wout Van Aert in the sprint, he took Van Aert off his line and that's a no no. Of commentators, only Chris Horner said it was okay-"it's the TdF after all!". Nope.

Worst thing for Sagan is that he did not get the second place points for the Green Jersey competition, and he was penalized points as well with the relegation. The Green Jersey leader, Sam Bennett, had about 240 to Sagan's 173. Charlie Wegelius commented that that fact will necessarily change the look of the race over the next couple days as Sagan tries to recoup. Sagan may not win the GJ for the first time in 7 years.

Posted by
2012 posts

Sagan has gotten away with that "shove them aside so I can win" routine for a long time. Of course the commentators were like "it's OK" he's been doing it for year. I think it was last year it was incredibly blatant and everyone was like "look how good he is"

Posted by
2246 posts

Actually he has not, imho, he was disqualified from TdF in 2017 and sent home after Stage 4 for much the same thing, which had caused a crash. I heard only Chris Horner approve of what he did the day before yesterday, virtually everyone else was 'no, you can't do that'. The initial contact was somewhat normal, but he stayed there, moving himself and Van Aert further off his line, and that I think is what made it a violation.

Peter Sagan is not arrogant, he's a very tough competitor, though.

Posted by
902 posts

Wow. Enjoyed the race today. That incline today was amazing and the strength they gave to finish!
Love the spectators cheering them on is so awesome. I am a runner and enjoy them cheering me on.

Posted by
2246 posts

Hearing some grumblings already about Primos Roglic doping . . .

Excuse me? If you have a source please cite it-I don't believe that you do. You may be hearing whining from the riders behind Roglic, but that is a terrible thing to say about a person; a' la Fox news...'some people are saying'.

Really? Who?

Roglič took up cycling in 2012, after quitting ski jumping, because he felt it was too hard to be at the highest level of the sport. Roglič quickly made the jump to paid levels for the 2013 season with the continental Adria Mobil team. After three seasons with the team his successful 2015 season, including a win at the 2015 Tour of Slovenia, got him a contract to ride with LottoNL–Jumbo for the next season.[14]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primož_Roglič

Posted by
1767 posts

on youtube, search for ‘nbcsn tour’ and it will show the individual stage highlights

Posted by
8291 posts

Anybody know why Jens Voigt is not part of the NBC Sports coverage team like he has been for the last 5 yrs?
I Googled for the answer but didn’t find anything.

Posted by
3110 posts

It appears that Jens Voight is providing commentary to the Eurosport DE for le Tour for 2020. I looked at Jens‘ twitter feed and Eurosport DE to determine this.

Posted by
8291 posts

Thanks Mona. Like Barbra, all i found were his podcasts pre-Tour.

Posted by
8291 posts

Interesting info on Roglic Barbra. Nothing in Google search about Roglic and doping...

Posted by
1266 posts

Love the tour and living vicariously via the excellent coverage of history and countryside presented on NBC. Tis a great travel alternative during a time with little opportunity to travel. Particularly love the people whose passion for cycling brings them to the side of the road for brief glimpses of competitors while creating longer lasting memories. Traversing through the villages and listening to the dates of origins helps me appreciate how long people have lived in these regions and to consider the journey their lives are enduring. Someday I look forward to sitting on a hill side and absorbing the tour as they pedal pass.
Be well!

Posted by
2246 posts

I assume based on decades of watching cycling that most of the top riders and teams are doping, but I guess I don't understand why it matters one way or another.

That is no longer a safe assumption, and it hasn't been for 5-10 years, imho. It matters to me here only because another poster said something about doping that I felt was unfounded, and thereby impugned the reputation of a rider, without evidence.

Posted by
1266 posts

An interesting, and in my opinion, needless turn of the thread to offer comments upon competitive performance and questioning if PED's are being utilized. The focus of the forum is travel and I encourage us to pedal along the road of gaining the benefits of travel in whatever form we can find. Trust me, if we cannot travel by next year then I will be ready to try any PED available to enhance my travel memories!
Be well!

Posted by
1266 posts

And I wish people like you would be less caustic.
BTW, Americans have ZERO room to be making any accusations regarding doping (there is this guy named Lance Armstrong who set the standard..........)

Posted by
260 posts

Lighten up folks. You are ruining the enjoyment of a sports event that has the guts to happen in this crazy year.

Posted by
2246 posts

The Tour had its second rest day on Monday. As some may know, it's a "bubble" for riders, mechanics, masseuse/masseur, drivers, coaches, chefs, officials, managers, etc etc....everybody gets tested. All 785 people tested were negative, no positives at all.

Posted by
959 posts

As Bob Roll said the other day - If a country wants to do great tourism advertising - host a stage bike race! Watching this year's TdF has been great for the traveling soul.
I've been watching the UCI races since as long as I can remember.
I miss Jens but I am enjoying "the Move" with Lance and George. (Got over the Lance thing a long time ago)
It's been a great Tour so far. Curious about what Team Ienos will do after it's over. I think leaving Thomas off the team didn't make sense but Froome had a terrible Criterium so I'm not so sure he belonged this year. Bernal - obviously did not train. Sagan needs an attitude adjustment. Maybe his divorce got in the way of training. Look at Richie Porte - nice to see him have such a good race. and GO SEPP!!! How fun to watch that young man.
It took me awhile to get used to not seeing Steve Perino but I really like Adam Blythe.

Posted by
2246 posts

Totally! Not quite Lemond/Fignon on the Champs in '89, but darn close! Incredible!

Posted by
260 posts

Thank you Cyn for posting the Tour 3 weeks ago. We have enjoyed the action every morning. Would have missed it otherwise. Agree with other posters that today’s time trial was excellent and turned the 3 podium spots upside down. The last day of the Tour tomorrow will make us miss Paris and all the French countryside. I took a short bike ride in honor of all the amazing professional cyclists. Allez!

Posted by
5262 posts

Fun to watch and learn about the complex rules. Not fun to listen to some of the commentary and for sure the endless repetitive commercials on NBC Sports. I don't normally watch much of the Tour because it comes on so early out here and competes with our wonderful July-August mornings, but this year it was a good distraction from other things and especially this last week from smoky air that kept us inside. And a nice vicarious trip to France, which I'd much rather visit by car and rail than the way these guys did it. So Vive Slovenia and merci to Cyn for starting the thread!

Posted by
169 posts

Merci - again for the thread.

Now what will I do with my mornings? Miss the views already.

Posted by
902 posts

Loved watching and enjoying the sites of France. Glad the Irishman won, Sam Bennett the stage 21 and green jersey.

Posted by
959 posts

Great TdF!!!! Always bummed when it's over. It's like suffering from "return from vacation" depression. It was a much needed distraction this year.

Merci' Cyn for starting the thread.

Posted by
6616 posts

We tape it every day and watch it in the evening -- love skimming over the countryside of France and seeing places we have been and places we would like to go some day.

Exciting Tour and obviously well managed for COVID risk -- given the history of the sport obviously wondering when samples collected now from riders will be analyzed 5 years from now when detection methods improve. Hard to believe that 'miraculous record setting' rides day after day are not unaided when they pretty much haven't been before.

Posted by
191 posts

For me, a longtime Tour aficionado (yes, I get up at 5 or 6am every morning to watch!), it brought a sense of normalcy to a summer that has been anything but normal & this has uplifted me.

A point: the Tour goes through a periodic "changing of the guard" & we are in that process now. Starting with Bernal last year, this year's group of young riders dominated the race like no other under 25 group that I have ever seen. Tadej Pogacar taking the yellow jersey in the time trial on the day before the ride to Paris & winning two other jerseys was one for the ages. And only 21 years of age! This for me was also the best Tour I have ever seen. When does next year's Tour start?

Posted by
220 posts

In the birthplace of Richie Porte most are attempting to recover from sleep deprivation having stayed awake until around 1.30 am for the 20 stages and until 3am for the finale. In Perth on the West Coast a more civilised finishing time of 11.30pm was enjoyed. It was a sweet reward to see Ritchie make the podium. And Caleb Ewan take a couple of stage wins. Great to see a close finish, good sportsmanship from the podium winners. Genuine humility from Tradej.

Ritchie and wife Gemma gained another daughter in the first week of the race. Eloise.

He currently lives in Monaco for tax and sport reasons, so his mum and dad and the rest of Tasmania and Australia are unlikely to see him and the new daughter return home until the end of the year.

Being completely and unabashedly parochial the best finish was 2011, Cadel Evans. He showed that a clean cyclist could win.

Until 2017 our commentary was from Ligget and Sherwen, whom I enjoyed immensely. Since 2018 has been provided by local journalists and past riders, such as Robbie McEwen. If commercials annoy you, a VPN should give access to our SBS coverage, but be warned the coverage is utterly parochial.

Stay Safe

Regards
Ron

Posted by
2246 posts

When does next year's Tour start?

Exactly. It's like a three day weekend: just four days til your next days off! I'll take it. And yes, it's certainly a "changing of the guard" going on now, too bad Bernal had a hard time, but as with Peter Sagan I feel like they're all a bit out of sync due to Covid and changing schedules.

Good news? The Giro d'Italia starts October 3, available on the Flosports app and others. Life is good.

I'm a little bugged by what I see on this thread as knee jerk reactions to pro cycling and doping. I, for one, believe doping has reduced greatly in the last 5-10 years; to have a twenty one year old come out of almost nowhere and win Le Tour the first conclusion should be 'great athlete', not 'cheater'. Actual news and actual facts are always welcome, of course, and of interest-speculation and hyperbole not so much.

Vive Le Tour!

Posted by
11832 posts

Too bad travel is shut down. TdF and September weather would have been ideal. I had planned a trip in September to wine country but no joy with travel restrictions still in place. Now it's San Diego in December to visit family and friends. Really glad we sailed in BVI in February before they shut the world down.