This summer season the world’s most well-known cycle race pedals off from Dusseldorf on 1 July. For the subsequent three weeks, elite cyclists will compete stage by stage as they loop round Germany, Belgium, and France. Glory awaits whoever crosses the ending line first in Paris on 23 July. All those that come behind can at the least say they accomplished the gruelling 104th Tour de France.
The Tour de France itself is open solely to skilled cyclists, however that’s to not say that you could’t get a style of the motion. You’ll be able to bike the identical route, or observe stage by stage as a spectator. Listed here are the highlights you’ll be able to count on to see for those who observe the route, plus our sensible tricks to make it occur.
The very first stage of this yr’s Tour de France begins and ends within the German metropolis of Dusseldorf. It’s a flat 13 km time trial by town streets, largely alongside the banks of the Rhine and subsequently splendidly flat. You’ll be able to observe an identical route on a guided bike tour of town, or meander your individual approach by the Outdated and New Cities. The parks and tree-lined promenade by the riverside are notably fairly, and an effective way to ease your self into biking, particularly for those who’re not terribly match.
Stage 2 of the Tour de France is a protracted distance stage: 203 km from Dusseldorf throughout the border to Liège in Belgium. There are two quick climbs alongside the best way, and also you’ll see an excessive amount of western Germany’s countryside as you cycle.
Although this part of the route will not be overly arduous, you’ll be spending quite a lot of hours within the saddle. It’s important you put on the best shorts or tights to keep away from chafing. Jack Wolfskin’s Gravity Flex Tights are stretchy and breathable, and importantly are additionally waterproof — useful for the unpredictable climate in Northern Europe!
Whenever you arrive into Liège, don’t be deceived by the primary industrial appearances. Climb the Montagne de Bueren steps for a rewarding metropolis view, and deal with your self to a well-earned beer on the prime.
Biking and ingesting wine might not all the time go collectively, however there are few issues extra pleasurable in life than biking by French vineyards. The organisers of the Tour de France know that properly, and so Stage 7 runs 213 km by the vineyards of Burgundy from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges. Champagne and Rosé des Riceys are simply two of the native specialities: you may also preserve your vitality ranges up with Troyes andouillette, Chaource cheese, and Prunelle de Troyes, a very potent prune-based liquor.
⇒ Learn additionally: Street journey to Champagne for a corker of a weekend break
Opponents within the Tour de France take a much-needed relaxation day within the Dordogne earlier than beginning on Stage 10, the 178 km leg from Perigueux to Bergerac. The terrain here’s a little hillier, however the rewards for guests are ample: the well-known cave work of Lascaux, truffles and foie gras for the foodies, and the points of interest of Bergerac.
Bergerac’s Outdated City appears to be like as if it was made for tourism. The timber framed homes are medieval, there are full of life markets within the squares, and you’ll wander alongside the financial institution of the Dordogne River all the way down to the historic quay.
By the point you attain Stage 14 (182 km), you’ll want to lift your sport. The hills right here may look photogenic, however as they rise larger and better, your legs will begin to burn.
Be grateful that you simply’re on a contemporary, light-weight bicycle. The primary time that British riders competed within the Tour de France was in 1955, and their tools and clothes appeared very totally different certainly. The Wearwell Cycle Firm, who sponsored riders in that first British staff, have relaunched their assortment in 2017, combining a touch of 1950s classic model with the newest supplies and designs. You’ll be able to look the half while using in full consolation.
Whenever you do get to Rodez on the finish of the stage, inevitably you’ll be exhausted. When you’ve recovered, do enable a while for sightseeing, nevertheless. Rodez’s cathedral is a masterpiece of gothic structure; there’s a superb round strolling tour across the Outdated City; and the native park, Domaine de Combelles, covers 300 acres.
The longest stage of the tour, Stage 19, runs by the lavender fields and olive groves of Provence. It would look totally idyllic nevertheless it’s powerful on the legs, particularly within the first a part of the day. Even the professionals are hard-pushed to finish the 223 km in below 17 hours.
You’re heading for Salon-de-Provence. This yr is the primary time that the Tour de France has ever been by, although the city is an everyday function in different lengthy distance street races such because the Paris-Good Peloton. Come right here to go to the 12th century Château de l’Empéri and the tomb of Nostradamus within the Saint-Laurent Collegiate Church. In case your journey coincides with the Du son au Balcon competition in August, you’ll additionally hear the central sq. pulsing as DJs combine the newest tracks from the balcony of the city corridor.
Everybody’s heard of the Maillot Jaune — the yellow jersey — of the Tour de France, and on the ultimate race day, that’s what’s on everybody’s thoughts. It’s thought of unhealthy kind for different riders to don that color shirt, however if you wish to really feel like a winner by yourself bicycle trip, by all means flash some canary yellow.
The 21st and remaining stage of the Tour de France is from Montgeron by Paris to the Champs-Élysées. It’s a 103 km trip and when the roads are cleared for the race, classed as a dash. When you’re competing with the Parisian visitors, nevertheless, your tempo will inevitably be curtailed.
It’s in Paris that the thrill of the race builds to a peak, and the place as a spectator you’ll discover the very best vantage factors. Arrive in good time if you’d like a spot on the Quai d’Orsay or Pont Alexandre III; you stand a greater likelihood within the grounds of the Grand Palais the place there’s somewhat extra room.
Watching the race attain its triumphal finish on the Champs-Élysées is an emotional sight. And that’s much more true for those who’ve cycled all — and even half — of the best way your self. Make time this summer season for the Tour de France, the best cycle race of all of them.
For extra info on Paris, be sure you take a look at our devoted Paris web page: www.thetravelmagazine.internet/paris
FLY from London Heathrow to Dusseldorf from £75 a technique with Eurowings. Returning from Paris, flights begin from £62 with Vueling, or you’ll be able to take the Eurostar.
When you’re flying along with your bike, you’ll want a motorcycle bag or case to cease it getting broken within the maintain.
By the way, low cost retailer MyVoucherCodes have give you some common costs so you’ll be able to guestimate how a lot you’ll be able to count on to pay alongside this route:
- The common lodge keep per night time – £57.15
- The common tenting keep per night time – £13.31
- The common meal in a restaurant – £12.60