Spectating TDF

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  • Spectating TDF
  • tinribz

    So just booked the family holiday and it just so happens there is a stage riding right past just when we happen to be there 8)

    Anyone been over to watch one before? Will it be as anti-climatic as the Tour of Britain?

    Any advice or recommendations as to being at the start, middle or end.

    Mercy boocup.


    Saw one when I was a kid. Was over very fast.

    TdF starts near my folks place this summer so I’ll go see it if we’re there but I won’t make a special trip just for it.


    Saw a stage one year that went up Galibier in the alps.
    We waited all day and couldn’t believe the speed they went past us. It was all over in a couple of minutes.

    Still, we got to see Greg Lemond on the day he cracked.


    Was in Morzine a few years ago when Landis put in that fantastic performance to effectively win the tour. We rode the Les Gets trails in the morning and then rode up (off-road) to between the Cols Ranfolly and Joux Plane. We waited and waited and fought with fat Belgians for the tat that was thrown at us from the promotional cars. Then watched a chap riding a bike past us really quite fast, then a few more, then a big bunch, then a few stragglers.

    Then a couple of days later we found out he’s tested positive for testosterone on that very stage so we’d basically wasted half a day’s MTBign to watch a cheat.

    Premier Icon leffeboy

    seen a few now. Top tips would be:
    * Don’t even attempt to take a photo. You won’t be able to capture it and you’ll miss the action. I know it is hard to do but just put the camera down

    * If you can get to the end then there is often a big screen and beer so you can see it all winding up and then finishing, it’s brilliant. Never managed it for a tour finish like that yet but saw the end of the Tour of Flanders which fantastic.

    * If you have kids with you then you can score outrageous amounts of stuff from the caravan if you are by yourselves somewhere

    * take a radio

    It’s great, do it 😀


    Hopefully i will be on alpe d’huez again this year.
    Went in 2003 and got 3.5km down the hill on crutches, had fun with lots of different people while we waited for them to come past. Amazed at the speed of them after they had already ridden 200km including the col du galibier.


    Top tips, am looking forward to it. Maybe look for an ascend and take a large picnic too.


    Went to the Tourmalet stage a couple of years ago, it was great. Good atmosphere, lots of bikes to look at. You just camp on any available land. The Basques always visit the Tourmalet, my village organised a trip there so there was lots of food and wine. Going to try and go again this year.


    I’ve spectated twice in the Pyranees and really enjoyed it. Like most live sport you don’tget the best views or most up to date info but the atmosphere and sheer close proximity to the riders makes up for it (as it does at football). We stood half way up the Aspin just outside Arreau, watched the blue train ride past at extraordinairy speed, (gratifyingly they were in close to bottom gear but very aggressive cassette by my standards), Robbie McKeown at the back pull a wheelie etc etc then scooted back down the hill into a bar to watch the final climb (up the Tourmalet?? it was 2005) that Armstrong won quite easily.

    Next year we were 70 metres from the finish at a Pyraneean ski resort and watched wheelsucker Hincapie outsprint some poor bloke for a stage victory – his first and only in the Tour if I remember correctly. The riders were so close you could have touched them and you see into their eyes and imagine the pain, the tiredness, the desperation.

    We also watched sign on Lannemazen in 2004, all very informal, unpretentious, close up etc. Then rode off to watch then 50 km down the road.

    Do it, its great.



    If you have kids so much the better!

    Take a picnic and a vat of suncream
    Find a good spot and wait

    The caravan of crap will have more than enough goodies to throw your way to keep the kids sweet

    The race itself will go past in seconds but the helis and motorbikes etc etc add to the atmosphere

    Beware if you are on a climb then everyone will be choked getting to the bottom
    Peds, cyclists and tossers in motorhomes all into the mix

    If its a mountain finish then as above but with knobs on

    Ive taken the GF’s kids and weve all had a ball but only from a vantage point you can easily escape from



    Spartacus leads the peleton:

    195/365 by stuartie_c, on Flickr

    From last year’s tour – Chambery to Gap.

    More here.


    Saw a stage which went through Leon about 5 years ago, loved it. The build up was great with people arriving and the general buzz of excitement. Then the promo stuff vans came through throwing stuff to the crowd, Champion hats Laughing cow stuff. Then 3 guys came through going like the clappers, the rest of the pelaton ambled through about 8 minutes later and that was it. Went to a bar to watch the finnish and the breakaway were swallowed about 5km from the end. Its sounds a little dull but it was great to see part of a iconic sporting event. Managed to pinch a TDF arrow off a lampost for a souvenir.

    Omar Little

    It can be difficult to access the most interesting bits to watch (ie the famous climbs) by car due to road closures, nowhere to park etc but if you are intending to get there by bike then it is alot easier and makes for a great experience.

    Cycling up l’alpe d’huez before the riders were due is one of my favourite ever biking experiences. The sides of the road were already packed and you get drunken fans running alongside shouting allez allez allez and handing water out. Cyclists dont get told to move off the road until shortly before the race is due to pass so you can really savour the experience…like being allowed to have a kickabout on pitch at wembley 10 minutes before the fa cup final started.

    Premier Icon whippersnapper

    I saw the London stages and then a stage the following year to the west of Lyon. Found ourselves a spot on a climb so it wasn’t over quite as fast as it could have been. But the build up was massive, excellent atmosphere amongst the spectators, and then the caravan comes, it lasted around 2 hours. The kids will love it.

    Once the caravan has passed you won’t know what’s happening. Look out for the swarm of helicopters, they’ll give the game away as to when the riders are coming.


    The race itself will go past in seconds but the helis and motorbikes etc etc add to the atmosphere

    Yes, despite my bitterness at waiting half a day for a cheat to ride past, the helicopters were pretty spectacular.


    saw it rush by 2 years ago near Perpignan.

    same as what said ^^. Get there early can’t believe we had coffee and croissant breakfast next to a roundabout!, make a day of it, the atmosphere was great, and I think it helps if you can get to a TV/radio to understand a little about what’s happening. we got chatting to some people in a campervan who were keeping us informed.
    The giveaway tat is part of the fun, oh and camera can be helpful – Bugatti Veyron in the procession after the cyclists.

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