July 1st is THE day! Yep, it’s that time of year again! YAY!
Le Tour de France. The toughest bike race in the world. Twenty-one days of racing in 21 different places, 22 teams, 198 riders risking their various body parts 4-6 hours every day on the flat and in the Pyrenees and the Alps, averaging 23 – 54 kph (14.3-33.6 mph) depending on terrain, 3,540 km (2,199.65 miles) total, and just 2 rest days. For 3 weeks I will be watching online mesmerized by one of sports most breathtaking and grueling spectacles. I love it!
My dad got me hooked on the Tour de France as a child. Every July, every day, we looked for news of “Le Tour”. It was the only bike race covered on the news channels in the U.S. at that time. And all we got were the highlights. Later came cable. But that got way too expensive. And then one year I found out you could get it online. Swoon! Every summer I pay to watch Le Tour de France online. Live and on demand so I don’t miss a thing. So don’t talk to me in July. July is for “Le Tour”!
Here are some numbers: There will be 4,500 people making this happen, 500 hotels in four countries (Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France), 635 cities visited, 17 medical personnel, 7 ambulances, 2 medical cars and a radiology truck, 7 planes (some passenger, some signal relay), with 2000 journalists providing 6,300 hours of coverage for 190 countries.
Fun Fact: There is a Caravan of advertisers that precedes the race start by 2 hours. Think Macy’s Parade for the whole length of the stage. That’s around 200 km (124.2 miles) a day. 170 tricked out vehicles that are spread out over 12km (7.5 miles). Over the 21 days 14 million goodies tossed to 10 – 12 million spectators.
But what’s really fun? (Not so much actually.) These vehicles have to be stripped down to street legal every day for the road trip to the next day’s start and then reassembled. So, too, all the media booths, awards stages, advertising booths, and staging areas for the race. Every single day.
So there’s virtually a small army moving around the country of France for 3 weeks every year. Have I mentioned how much I love this race? 😀
Here’s video showing the ambiance! Enjoy!
Let “Le Tour” begin!