Tour de France 2012

Last year’s Tour de France wasn’t that accessible for the visitor from northern England [blog entry].  This year’s is – hurrah!

I’m not sure 100% where I’m going, but the following stages are sure to feature

  • Prologue – Liège to Liège
  • Stage 1 – Liège to Seraing
  • Stage 2 – Visé to Tournai
  • Stage 3 – Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer is another great one to follow for the casual Brit.  I’ve visited Orchies a few times now as it features in the Paris – Roubaix race.

So, another Grand Départ weekend out of France.  I wonder what the race will have in store for the British guys?  Mark Cavendish has said he won’t be quite so focussed on winning staged this year – his priority will be helping fellow Brit Bradley Wiggins into the Yellow jersey and keeping him in it all the way to Paris, as well as concentrating preparations for the London 2012 Games.  Still, I’d like to think he’s going to get a few stage wins under his belt.  How about Stage 1 for starters?

See you in France Belgium!

Tour de France 2011 – possible non starter?

Looks like this year could be a Tour de France free year again this year.  Mustn’t make a habit of it.

The main problem is trying to fit in when I can visit with the Tour’s route with my work schedule and whether the towns are served by train.

This year, I’m scuppered, especially that the Grand Depart is in Britanny and their rail service isn’t the best…

The possible days I can visit are

  • Stage 10 – Tue 12 July. Aurillac – Carmaux.  Rail engineering work means that it’s a 2 hour bus ride from Toulouse.  Not a major problem in itself, but when the rest of the region is trying to get to the event…
  • Stage 11 – Wed 13 July.  Blaye-les-Mines – Lavaur.  Same as above
  • Stage 12 – Thu 14 July.  Cugnaux – Luz Ardiden.  Local town doesn’t know yet what bus services are available so might not be able to get anywhere decent.
  • Stage 16 – Tue 19 July.  Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux – Gap.  No hotels in Gap or in reasonable sized towns within a 90 minute radius
  • Stage 17 – Wed 20 July.  Gap – Pinerolo.  No hotels in Gap.

My last remaining possibility is a visit to Grenoble on 23 July for the Time Trial, but seems a bit far to go just for one stage.


 

As a follow up a post in 2007, I’ve updated my Tour de France diary…

I’ve been to the Tour for the last few years and I’ve think I’ve worked out which stages I’ve been to.  When at a stage finish, I always try and get as close to the finish line as possible and have always been in the last kilometre or so.

2010
A foray to a Grand Depart in another country!

Prologue – Rotterdam.  Wet, miserable, rubbish photos.
Stage 1Rotterdam – Bruxelles.  Near the finish in Bruxelles
Stage 2 – Bruxelles – Spa.  By the start in Bruxelles

2009
Another good vintage

Prologue – Monaco.  Fairly near to the finish and managed to get some decent photos, including a certain Manx Missile!
Stage 1 – Monaco to Brignoles.  Watched the race pass on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
Stage 2 – Marseille to La Grande Motte.  Saw the Depart by the port in Marseille
Stage 3 – Montpellier – Montpellier time trail.  Just up from the start point

2008
Unable to go.  🙁

2007
Possibly one of the best years…  3 countries, 4 stages in different 5 towns

Prologue – London.  200 m from finish on the Mall.  What a location!
Stage 1 – London to Canterbury.  Marshalled on the stage and then chased the race to watch the events unfold at Stone Street (poor Cav!).  Joined the Caravane on the boat across to France…
Stage 2 – Dunkerque – Gent.  Stood on the finish line in the rain but missed the end of race crashes.
Stage 3 – Waregem – Compiegne.  Saw the Depart from Waregem

2006
Prologue – Strasbourg. Near to finish line
Stage 1 – Strasbourg to Strasbourg. Watched the ‘pre race’ – the riders just trundle by through the town until they are in the open road then the race starts properly.  Then moved to the finish line to wait for the race.

2005
Stage 3 – La Châtaigneraie to Tours. Near the finish line
Stage 4 – Tours – Blois.  Team Time Trial.  About 1km from the start so wasn’t too busy.  Conveniently found a bar where I was able to sit and wait for the teams to finish – along with quite a few other folk!

2004
Stage 3 – Waterloo to Wasquehal. Near to the finish line
Stage 4 – Cambrai to Arras.  Team Time Trial.  About 1km from the start on a good bend.  Remember this stage as it chucked it down all day!

2003
Stage 11 – Narbonne to Toulouse. Near to the finish line, but nearly wasn’t.  After standing for a couple of hours, the police decided to move a group of us as we were “in the wrong place”.  After a great deal of persistance, we were able to stop.
Stage 12 – Gaillac to Cap’ Découverte. Individual time trial. Just by the starting ramp.
Stage 13 – Toulouse to Plateau de Bonascre.  Watched the race start at the Cité de l’Espace

2002
Stage 5 – Soissons to Rouen.  Near to the finish line

2001
Did not attend.

2000
Stage 13 – Avignon to Draguignan.  Near to the finish line

1999
Stage 14 – Castres to Saint-Gaudens.  Near to the finish line.  Remember being not too well this year – had been away in Poland the week prior and picked up a bug leaving me with severe trots!  The day previous I was pretty bad but managed to hold out when it was time to watch the race.

1998
Stage 14 – Valreas to Grenoble.  Near to the finish line

1997
Stage 19 – Montbeliard to Dijon.  Near to the finish line

1996
Stage 19 – Hendaye to Bordeaux.  Near to the finish line