I have a question about stage 15 of this year?s Tour de France. Six of us travelled from the US to see the race and ride all of the climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees. An early morning start was required to stay at least one hour ahead of the caravan.
We had downloaded the time schedule for each stage from the Tour website.
We love being on the road on the day of the event, with all the spectators in place. However, this day the caravan was not scheduled to do the first part of the climbs, and I had heard that the descent of the Port de Balès was technical.
We were looking forward to that climb. But the gendarmes pulled us off the road as we approached the summit of the Aspet and we had to walk the last kilometre to the summit. We were pulled off the road again on the Col de Menté. There was no announcement on the road signs from St Girons where we started.
In previous years we have always had the chance to ride ahead of the riders. Why did this happen? If the French want us to return each year, we need better information on the road.
Steve Norton, Washington, USA
The TDF (ASO) organisation, with the French police, has in the last few years closed roads on the mountain stages on the day prior to the race arriving. This is to allow all the camper vans and spectators to get safely into position so as not to cause any obstruction on the course.
As a Tour de France official bike tour operator, we do have ?D-Day rides? on the day of the event, when our clients can ride the whole stage on the same day, but this is the only way the organisation will now allow cyclists to ride.
And in recent years the police have closed roads to vehicles and cyclists ? especially on mountain stages ? a lot sooner than in previous years, often up to four hours ahead of the race?s arrival.
Sales Manager for Sports Tours International. Graham Baxter Sporting Tours knows the
logistics of the international race scene.