The Tour de France  - 2013

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The Tour de France

 France's greatest sporting event 

Looking ahead - the Tour de France UK -  2014

The 101st edition of the Tour de France will start  in the UK. Starting from the city of Leeds, Riders will enjoy two days of cycling through the spectacular secenry of the Yorkshire dales, before a thir'd day's riding on the flatter land of the southeast, between Cambridge and London. More details below

2013 Tour de France final result 
For the second year running, a British cyclist has won the Tour de France. After Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the world's greatest cycle race, in 2012, Christopher Froome has  made it two in a row in 2013.

Final general classification - first ten places:

1. Chris FROOME (Great Britain)
2. Nairo Quintana Rojas (Columbia)
3. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)
4. Alberto Contador (Spain)
5. Roman Kreuziger (Czech republic)
6. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
7. Jakob Vuglsang (Denmark)
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
9. Daniel Navarro (Spain)
10. Andrew Talanski (USA)

Top of Mont Ventoux
Cycling is a great tradition in France - specially when it comes to "le Tour". 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...   Following recent revelations over Lance Armstrong, organisers are hoping that with the hundredth edition of the Tour de France,  cycling can at last come clean and put stories of drugs, doping and steroids firmly into the past.

The 2013 edition of the Tour de France, the 100th, provided all the excitement and fun of previous events - and apparently without any of the controversies that have surrounded the race in recent years.

   Le Tour        2013       the route  

Tour de France 2013 mapTour de France route map by About-France.com .
Copying permitted only by permission. 
The route of the 2013 Tour de France
The hundredth edition of the Tour de Franceis taking place totally within France, breaking with the tradition of the past few years which have included a leg or two in neighbouring countries.
  The tour started, for the first time in the Tour's history, on the island of Corsica; riders spent  three days, from 1st to 3rd July,  on the beautiful Mediterranean island, before crossing over to the mainland.
    After that it crossed to the mainland, and 4th July saw team time trials around the city of Nice, on the French Riviera.
From then the Tour headed across  the Mediterranean regions of France from the Riviera to the Pyrenees, before jumping to the the west coast, in the Vend�e area. From here the Tour crosses to  the northern coast of Britanny, at Saint Malo.
   From St Malo, riders  then made a long diagonal journey from northwest France back to southeast France, via Tours, Saint Amand Montrond (known as the geographic centre of France) and Lyon.
   The final week will see riders battling it out against each other in the hills and mountains to the east of the Rhone, with several Alpine passes and summits to negotiate.
Click for Cycling in France
A guide to cycling in France: rules, long-distance cycle routes, essential cycling vocabulary, and more 
     After that, riders will return by TGV to the Paris region, for an emblematic final stage between two of France's most well-known sites, the chateau of Versailles and the traditional finish on the Champs Elys�es in Paris - only to mark the 100th anniversary, the finish will be a bit less traditional, with an evening finish at 9.30 p.m. up the Champs Elys�es to a floodlit Arc de Triomphe.

     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.

Cycling is not just the Tour de France, but is a popular leisure activity. Click for more information on cycling in France and France's network of cycleways.

The 2013 Tour de France route stage by stage

Stage Date Day’s route (towns, regions) and terrain Length in Km.
1st Stage Sat 29th June Corsica: Porto-Vecchio -  Bastia  - relatively flat coastal plain   200 km
2nd Stage Sun 30th June Corsica: Bastia - Ajaccio - across the mountains of central Corsica

155 km

3rd  Stage Mon 1 July Corsica: Ajaccio - Calvi - hilly terrain along Corsica's rocky northwest coast 145 km
4th Stage Tues 2 July Nice - Nice - time trials (French Riviera)  25 km
5th Stage Wed 3 July Cagnes sur Mer - Marseille (Provence-Alpes-C�te d'Azur region) - hills and valleys 219 km
6th Stage Thur 4 July Aix en Provence - Montpellier (Languedoc-Roussillon) - flat with some hills 176 km
7th Stage Fri 5 July Montpellier (Languedoc-Roussillon) to Albi  (Midi-Pyr�n�es)   205 km
8th Stage Sat 6 July Castres - Ax-trois-Domaines  (Midi-Pyr�n�es 194 km
9th Stage Sun 7 July Saint-Girons - Bagn�res-de-Bigorre.  (Midi-Pyr�n�es) Pyrenean mountain stage   165 km
Rest day Mon 8 July Saint Nazaire none
10th Stage Tue 9 July  Saint-Gildas-des-Bois (Pays de la Loire) - Saint-Malo (Brittany)
193 km

11th Stage

Wed 10 July Avranches - Mont St Michel, (Normandy)  individual time trial, 33km    33 km
12th Stage Thur 11 July Foug�res (Brittany) -  Tours   (R�gion Centre)

 218 km
13th Stage Fri 12 July Tours - Saint Amand Montrond  (R�gion Centre) A generally flat leg, terminating in the town known as the centre of France. 173 km
14th Stage Sat 13 July Saint-Pour�ain-sur-Sioule (Auvergne)  - Lyon (Rh�ne-Alpes)  Hilly stage across the Forez mountains -  191 km
15th Stage Sun 14 July Givors (Rh�ne-Alpes) - Mont-Ventoux - finishing with one of the classic climbs of the Tour de France. 242 km
  Rest day Mon 15 July Rest day  none
16th Stage Tues 16 July Vaison-la-Romaine - Gap  Hilly stage in the foothills of the Provence Alps and Luberon 168 km

17th Stage

Wed 17 July Embrun - Chorges  - Time trials 32 km
18th Stage Thur 18 July  Gap - Alpe d'Huez  - Mountainous. Summit finish in the Alps 168 km
19th Stage Fri 19 July Bourg d'Oisans - Le Grand Bornand - another Alpine stage 204 km
20th Stage Sat 20 July Annecy - Mont Semnoz   (Rh�ne-Alpes) -  mountainous course in the foothills of the Alps, with a summit finish. 125 km
Sun 21 July Versailles– Paris (Ile de France) - Evening finish on the Champs Elys�es

Total length:  3360 km

For the record: route of the The Tour de France 2008 : Tour de France 2009
Tour de France 2010  :  Tour de France 2011   Tour de France 2012

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.
      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.

     Tourists wanting to book holiday accommodation along the route are advised to do so early.
Click here for holiday cottages or for bed and breakfast accommodation in France.

Visit the Official site of the tour de France

Tourist attractions in France, by region :

France in general:
The main historic monuments and tourist attractions in France   

Follow these links for a more detailed list of major tourist attractions in the following regions:
Paris tourist attractions
          Things to see and do in Languedoc-Roussillon
           Tourist attractions in Limousin
            Tourist sites in the Midi-Pyrenees region
             Tourist attractions in Normandy
              Tourist sites in the Pays de la Loire

    A brief introduction to the regions of France

Accommodation for the Tour de France
All hotel rooms in and around the start and finish points get booked up very fast by the teams and the media.
To avoid disappointment, check out available hotel rooms as soon as possible,  using the major online portals  booking.com  or Hotels.com

Gites and holiday cottages in France direct from the owners


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