At a loose end now that the Tour de France has finished? Here are some suggestions to fill the void
Has your cycling life fallen into a black hole now that the Tour de France has ended? Avidly watching every stage of a three-week race can leave you at a loose end when it finishes.
Your daily routine of breakfast, watching the Tour, lunch, watching the Tour, dinner, watching the Tour highlights and reading about the Tour has come to an abrupt conclusion.
We empathise with your feeling of emptiness and deflation – shuffling about without any clear aim in life. So we’ve put together a plan to quench your desire for cycling entertainment.
1. There’s more bike racing
Just because the ‘biggest race on the calendar’ has finished doesn’t mean that professional riders pack themselves in cotton wool and go into storage until next July. There are a whole host of races coming up over the next few weeks.
This weekend, top-level WorldTour racing continues with the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian in Spain on Saturday (July 29) with Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Mikel Landa (Team Sky) and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) all expected to ride. It’s almost like the Tour’s 22nd stage.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is back in action at the Tour of Poland from Saturday (July 29-August 4). Then there’s also the RideLondon-Surrey Classic in Britain on Sunday (July 30), featuring a number of Tour stars.
|29 July||Clásica Ciclista San Sebastian||Spain|
|29 July-4 August||Tour of Poland||Poland|
|30 July||RideLondon-Surrey Classic||Great Britain|
|7-13 August||Eneco Tour||Benelux|
|19 August-10 September||Vuelta a España||Spain|
|20 August||Cyclassics Hamburg||Germany|
|27 August||Bretagne Classic–Ouest-France||France|
|8 September||Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec||Canada|
|10 September||Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal||Canada|
|30 September||Il Lombardia||Italy|
|10-15 October||Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey||Turkey|
|19-24 October||Tour of Guangxi||China|
2. Start thinking about next year’s Tour
It’s really not too early to start thinking about next year’s Tour de France. The race organisers, teams and riders already are, so why shouldn’t you? The 105th edition will start on Saturday, July 7, 2017 in the Vendée – Pays de la Loire region and is highly likely to finish in Paris when it concludes on Sunday, July 29.
There are numerous ‘Tour route rumour’ websites that fill in the gaps based on speculation and rampant guess work – join in the fun. Print out a map of France and start drawing lines all over it.
There’s plenty to consider beyond the route, too. Can Chris Froome make it five wins? Will Romain Bardet or Warren Barguil finally deliver a victory for France? Can Mark Cavendish match Eddy Merckx’s tally of stage victories? Will all the overall contenders stay upright? What will we do without seeing Thomas Voeckler on a hopeless attack with his tongue hanging out? So, so many things to think about. Almost enough to fill the next 11 months.
3. Trawl YouTube for unseen footage of the Tour
With so many spectators waving smart phones and cameras around at the Tour, there is an almost endless supply of footage you haven’t seen yet on YouTube.
Quality is, how shall we say, variable but a video search for ‘Tour de France 2017’ brings up hundreds if not thousands of fan videos, interviews, analysis, on-bike footage and much more.
You’ll be surprised – sometimes unpleasantly – at what you can find.
4. Go out on your bike
One of the greatest ironies of the modern age is that watching super-fit athletes pounding the pedals through the mountains for hours on end actually makes you less fit. Three or four hours (at least) of being glued to the Tour on TV every day probably hasn’t done your fitness levels the world of good.
If you can remember where you put your bike, pump up the tyres, oil the chain and go for a spin around one of your favourite routes. You can always pretend that you are Chris Froome by sticking your elbows out and staring at your stem. Passing motorists will love it.
Have you got any friends left after ignoring them for three weeks? Maybe you can invite them out too and engage in what is known as ‘conversation’ in the outside world.
5. Tidy the house and do the gardening
All that stuff you’ve been putting off for the past three weeks because, like, hold on, the break might get caught if you avert your gaze away from the television, can now be done.
Fight your way through the layers of empty food wrappers and drink cans, and scythe down the forest that has sprouted around your house. Your neighbours will once again think that someone is living there.
It may not be fun, but you can’t put it off forever. You’ll have a warm glow of self appreciation when it’s done. You will, really. And you may even find out what is making that funny smell in the hallway.
6. Pretend the Tour hasn’t finished at all
If all else fails, go into heavy denial. Pretend the Tour hasn’t really finished at all. Re-create the excitement of the opening stage from Düsseldorf, which you’ve pretty much forgotten all about anyway, by watching ‘as live’ recordings of each and every stage, one per day.
This video is a good start…
If you’re still feeling glum about it all being over, the Vuelta a España starts in just a few weeks (August 19 to September 10), and has been as entertaining over the last few years as the Tour de France.
Several big Tour names are already slated to ride the Vuelta, including Froome, Yates, Fabio Aru, Uran and Contador. It’s going to be good. Very good.