The Tour de France  - 2010

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The Tour de France

 France's greatest sporting event 

The Tour de France is certainly the world's greatest cycling race; if you are visiting France in July, it is a free spectacle that may well be coming to a town or a road near you!  Each year, hundreds of thousands of locals and holidaymakers turn up in spots all round France to watch not just the cyclists, but also the great "caravan" of floats, cars, media and officals go by....In 2010, many people in France are hoping that the glitz of the Tour will help help them get over the fiasco of France's football team at the world cup in South Africa....

   Le Tour        2010       the route  

Tour de France route map 2010
Map free to copy. Please credit About-france.com
Map by About-France.com superimposed on enhanced NASA satellite photo of France.
The 2010 Tour de France set off from Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, on July 3rd 2010, and will finish in Paris on July 25th. It was the first time that the tour has visited the Netherlands. All the foreign stages of the race have now taken place, and riders now stay in France until the end of the Tour de France in Paris.  The mountain stages will take place in the Jura, the Alps and the Pyrenees, plus a stage across the Cevennes.

The race can be watched anywhere along the route: near the start of the day's leg, riders tend to be very bunched, and the actual race passes in about a minute. Towards the end of a leg, riders are more spaced out, so the thrill of the race lasts longer. However most of the spectacle comes not from the riders themselves, but from the "caravan", an hour-or-more long procession of cars, floats and motorcycles from the Tour's sponsors and the teams. It's all very commercial, with freebies being thrown out to the spectators; cheap baseball caps, little packs of sweets, mini-pretzels, keyrings and other gimmicks. It's interesting to watch, and the kids love it. But if its the actual race you want to see, then it's far better to watch it on TV where the cameras follow the riders from start to finish.
    If you go to watch the Tour, specially with kids, take care! Don't let children stand too close to the road, and never cross the road while the caravan is passing.

The 2010 Route:

Stage Date Day’s route (towns, regions) Length in Km.
1st Stage Sat 3 July  Prologue in Rotterdam (NL)


2nd Stage Sun 4 July  Rotterdam to Brussels (Belgium)

224 km

3rd  Stage Mon 5 July  Brussels to Spa (B)

192 km

4th Stage Tue 6 July  Wanze (B) to Arenberg(Nord)

207 km

5th Stage Wed 7 July  Cambrai (Nord) to Reims (Champagne)
150 km
6th Stage Thu 8 July  Epernay (Champagne) to Montargis (Centre)     185 km
7th Stage Fri 9 July  Montargis to Gueugnon (Burgundy)
225 km
8th Stage Sat 10 July  Tournus (Burgundy) to  Les Rousses (Franche Comt�) 161 km
9th Stage Sun 11 July  Les Rousses to Morzine (Rhone Alpes)
189 km

Mon 12 July  Rest day in Morzine / Avoriaz

10th Stage

Tue 13 July  Morzine to St Jean de Maurienne (Rhone Alpes) 204 km
11th Stage Wed 14 July  Chamb�ry to Gap (PACA -Provence- Alpes-C�te d'Azur) 179 km
12th Stage

Thu 15 July

 Sisteron (PACA) to Bourg les Valence (Rhone Alpes) 180 km
13th Stage Fri 16 July  Bourg de P�age (Rhone Alpes) to Mende (Languedoc) 210 km
14th Stage Sat 17 July  Rodez to Revel (Midi-Pyr�n�es) 195 km
15th Stage Sun 18 July  Revel to Ax les 3 domaines (Midi-Pyr�n�es) 184 km
16th Stage 

Mon 19 July

Pamiers to Bagn�res de Luchon (Midi-Pyr�n�es) 187 km
17th Stage

Tue 20 July

 Bagn�res de Luchon to Pau (Aquitaine) via Col du Tourmalet (altitude 2115 metres) 196 km
Wed 21 July  Rest day in Pau
18th Stage Thu 22 July  Pau - Col du Tourmalet (Midi-Pyr�n�es) 174 km
19th Stage Fri 23 July  Salies de B�arn to Bordeaux (Aquitaine) 190 km
20th Stage Sat 24 July  Bordeaux to Pauillac (Aquitaine) time trials 51 km
21st Stage Sun 25 July Longjumeau – Paris (Ile de France) 105 km

For the record: route of the The Tour de France 2008 : Tour de France 2009

Tour de France - leaderWith almost 200 cyclists, including many of the world's best, the Tour de France - which first took place in 1903 - is certainly a great sporting event; nonetheless, it is an event that has been marred - even heavily marred - in recent years by doping scandals, with cyclists proving positive in anti-doping tests. The 2008 race was no different from others, and at a small number of competitors were withdrawn from the race following a positive doping test.
   Yet in spite of the doping scandals, and the withdrawal in recent years of certain major teams, the "Tour" goes on, and it is difficult to imagine how it could not. This mega sporting event is worth millions of Euros in advertising, sponsorship and worldwide television rights, attracts millions of spectators, and is one of Europe's great media circus acts.
   For the hundreds of thousands who turn up to line the route, the cycling is actually only a tiny bit of the show: While the time-trial races may offer a more long-drawn-out cycling experience for spectators, with competitors taking part one by one, on normal race days the riders may go past in just a minute, especially in the earlier part of a day's leg, before the participants have become more spaced out. But then, the actual race is just a small part of the show. Starting some two hours before the race, the "Caravan" is a cavalcade of floats, decorated cars and other vehicles that moves along the route, throwing out goodies and free samples to the spectators; it is a massive advertising stunt. The advertising caravan, made up of the Tour's official sponsors, is followed by a long line of official cars, technical vehicles, media and motorbikes, lights flashing, horns sounding, all warming up the spectators for the actual event itself. Then, at last, the riders come by - and are gone again as quickly as they appeared, pounding uphill or downhill at speeds that can reach 50 mph or more. A bit of an anti-climax.... And with that, the day's excitement is over.
   Anyone wanting to watch the race in a serious manner would be well advised to do so on television; but for a day's outing, with all the fun of the crowds, the waiting, the caravan, and the atmosphere, watching the Tour go by is as good as many other events, and what's more it's free.
    The Tour can be watched all over France, and each year the route is different, taking in at least one leg in another country. The 2010 Tour covers a distance of 3596 km, in 21 stages, about 150 km longer than the 2009 route.. The most exciting legs of the itinerary are those that take place in mountainous regions of France.  The principal mountain stages in 2010 are stages 8 and 9 in the Alps, and stages 14 and 15 in the Pyrenees. However stages 7 (finishing at le Rousses, a Jura ski resort), 10 in the Vercors, and stage 12, crossing the C�vennes, also include some good uphill climbs.

     Tourists wanting to book holiday accommodation along the route are advised to do so early.
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Visit the Official site of the tour de France

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