What's it really like to ride the Tour de France?

Thousands of amateur cyclists ride the Etape du Tour each year and for many it’s a huge achievement to complete that one stage of the Tour de France. But what’s it like to ride the entire parcours over three weeks? Mark Roberts completed Le Loop last year - a charity cycling event that does just that. Find out about the pain, fatigue, camaraderie and exhilaration of riding one of the toughest cycling challenges around.

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Where to Watch the 2018 Tour de France?

Reaction to the announcement of the 2018 Tour de France route has generally been positive. With both a cobbled and a gravelled section, Alpe d’Huez, the Tourmalet, a super short 65km mountain stage in the Pyrenees and a lumpy time trial on the penultimate day, it’s an inventive and exciting parcours.

With so many iconic stages that refer back to the Tour’s heritage, the question is, where’s the best place to head to if you want to watch the riders in the flesh? Is it the Vendee and the beautiful west coast, the cobbles on the road to Roubaix? Or should you head to head to the Alps or Pyrenees?

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Behind the Scenes of Le Tour Part 2

It’s an oft-quoted fact that the Tour de France is the biggest sporting show on earth. TV Audience figures are hard to quantify but they vary from the modest 1.5 billion to a bullish 4 billion people watching at least a few minutes of the three week race.

And it’s from the TV compound at the finish area of each stage that the race is broadcast to 190 different countries. The logistical miracle of packing up, transporting this whole village and setting it all up again some 200 kilometres away on a daily basis is astounding.

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Behind the Scenes at Le Tour de France (Part 1)

“I always heed the words of the Queen Mother: never turn down the chance of a cup of tea or a pee.” It’s the first of many golden nuggets of advice, quips and bon mots from my avuncular host behind the scenes of the Tour de France 2017. It is of course none other than the Eurosport commentator, Carlton Kirby, as he shimmies his way into the urinoir outside the commentary box in Bergerac for a quick one before he takes up his post.

Stage 10 and 11 of this year’s Tour may have been two pan flat stages that featured hours of televised chateaux, vineyards and fields of sunflowers with little else to entertain the viewer. But for me they were a dream come true when, for two whole days, I had unfettered access to the behind scenes goings on of Le Tour.

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A Day In The Life of A Tour de France Photographer

Our appetite for images of riders in the Grand Tours and Classics knows no bounds: the stage winner, arms aloft in victory; a GC contender crashing out; the look of determination, pain and sacrifice of the climber. Every day these pictures are shared around the world on Facebook, Twitter, websites and millions of copies of old style newspaper print.

We caught up with Dutch photographer George Deswijzen, a freelancer who has worked on the Tour de France, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallon and Liege-Bastogne-Liege to mention but a few of the races he has covered. He tells us what it's like amid the chaos and excitement of a Grand Tour, how to capture that moment on camera that tells the story of the day and what it’s like to ride pillion on a motorbike during a race. He also offers some interesting and unexpected future career advice for fellow Dutchman Tom Dumoulin as well as some considered thoughts on rider safety.

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Mont Ventoux, the Giant of Provence

On 13th July 1967, on the 13th stage of that year’s Tour de France, the British rider Tommy Simpson was climbing the dreaded Mont Ventoux when he started to veer from side to side of the road. Insisting that he be “put back on my bike” he continued until he was 1.5 km from the summit when he finally collapsed still clipped into his pedals, and died. A mixture of amphetamines and alcohol were later found in his bloodstream causing heat exhaustion and dehydration. Tomorrow will see this year’s tour pass the memorial which marks that spot where the brave Tommy breathed his last gasp and pedalled his final stroke. 

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Mark Cavendish: Lessons in Winning a Sprint Stage

Today sees the end of an exciting week of racing at the Tour de France - especially for fans of Mark Cavendish. Cav took three stage wins which makes him the second most successful Tour stage winner of all time, after the legendary Eddy Merckx. Many who had written Cav off as being 'finished' had to eat their words as he used skills learnt on the track to lunge ahead of André Greipel, beating him by millimetres! Ride Velo thought we'd take this opportunity to celebrate the sprint finish by revealing the science, tactics and psychology that goes into achieving the top podium position. 

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Rough Guide to the Tour de France

The Tour de France, the most famous bike race in the world, starts this weekend, Saturday 2nd July. If you’re a little rusty on your cycling knowledge and mix up your sticky bottles with your bidon, you may want to brush up on your jargon. Here’s our rough guide to the Tour to see you through the next three weeks; everything you wanted to know about the Tour but were afraid to ask.

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ITV's Tour de France Makeover

ITV’s cycling reporters have been out in force over the last week, giving their predictions for the 2016 Tour de France yellow jersey contenders and revealing big changes to the line up, not of the riders, but of the commentators. 

Last week at Look Mum No Hands! Ned Boulting revealed that Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, the voices of the Tour on British TV, were to be replaced as real time commentators for the race...

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Ned Boulting at Look Mum No Hands!

In between busily commentating on one cycling event after another, author Ned Boulting made a guest appearance at Look Mum No Hands! on Monday night. Coming straight from the Dauphiné and via his publishers, he waved around a manuscript of his latest book, Velosaurus, with more red ink corrections on it than a GCSE English paper. He was embarrassed to admit that he'd been chastised for spelling Eddy Merckx wrong, and not the tricky surname. But it was was the imminent Tour de France that everyone wanted to talk about of course. 

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Critérium du Dauphiné 2016 – Froome lays down his marker

Chris Froome sealed his third win in the Critérium du Dauphiné today in a classy field of leading riders, sending a strong message to his Tour de France rivals. His previous 2 victories here presaged his brace of Tour victories and he looks very strong as the countdown to July 2nd begins in earnest. 

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