Each year I like to watch parts of the Tour de France. Sometimes I am able to watch it live, but other times I am watching the re-broadcast later in the day.
I really like to watch the surrounding scenery and buildings as they cycle through France.
I also like the strategy needed to control breakaways, set up for sprint or climbing points and watch how they work together to conserve energy. I would much rather watch a mountain stage than a flat stage as they are much more exciting.
For the last two years coverage has been a little different. Last year one of the commentators was not even in France, but is covering the race from his home in England. This year the commentators are at least in a studio even though they are not at the race.
Last year the Tour was held in September and the crowds were not very large because of COVID constrictions. This year the crowds are larger, but not yet back to pre-covid tours. However, the fans that are back are as crazy as every, especially on the long climbs in the mountains.
There was a bad accident early in the tour that was caused by a fan holding a sign. This affected the rest of the tour as several prominent riders had to drop out.
This year has been pretty exciting. I did not watch much of the first week, but have watched most of the stages since. The real excitement was early this week in the mountain stages of the Pyrenees.
Today was the last time trial and tomorrow they will finish with a ride into Paris.
Of course this makes me remember when the Amgen Tour of California has rolled through town in the past.
The last time I walked a couple miles from my house to where they were going to be passing through on the outskirts of town. I got there in plenty of time to get a good spot and then waited for the first riders to come through.
First there was a breakaway group that came speeding through. I didn’t have my camera on the right setting, but it does show that they are moving quickly.
Do you see the hills in the distance? You may think that they were headed for the winding roads in the hill. However, they had just come through these hills and were now headed toward Modesto on the flat ground of the Central Valley.
About five minutes later came the peloton. Somewhere in this group of riders is Lance Armstrong as in 2009 he was riding for Astana. The Astana team are the riders with the blue uniforms with yellow on the shoulders.
The peleton did catch up to the breakaway group but not until close to the end of the stage and then there was a sprint finish.
Some nice memories. I hope that someday a future tour will again ride through town.
Have you watched any of the Tour de France?