Ned Boulting’s Tour de France column: ‘Save the banter for stage 21 and let’s race!’

ITV Tour de France commentator pens his weekly thoughts from the Tour de France

Ned Boulting is touring later this year with his brand new comedy show, Tour de Ned. For more information and tickets, visit

French riders should bluff more

By placing a series of ‘friends and family’ at every village on the route, they can turn the ritual of riding off the front into a devastating stealth attack. In this manner, someone from Fortuneo-Samsic will ride to triumph in Paris.

Some rain would be good

Not one drop so far. Not even in Brittany, for heaven’s sake, where I usually go soggy-camping after the Tour. I’m not wishing anyone ill, but dealing with wet roads has always been and will forever be part of the skillset of a Tour de France racer.

Bonhomie is dull

There’s been far too much smiling and joshing, particularly between stages seven and eight and mostly in the ranks of BMC. Stefan Küng is the prime villain, and to be honest, even though we cannot hear them, his lols look weak.

Save the banter for stage 21 and let’s race!

France is good at Cathedrals

I knew about the wine, and was aware of the cheese thing that the French have had going for a while, but Amiens and Chartres Cathedrals blew me away. The fact that they were conceived and mostly built in the 12th century is simply ridiculous.

Lots of France used to be English

Especially Brittany and Normandy. I barely saw one fortified chateau that hadn’t at some time been sacked by the mob from over the channel. But then again, and here’s the point: the English were basically French. It’s rather confusing.

Climbers are amazing at everything actually

No one imagined that almost all of the climbers would have fared so well in the cobbles (and before you mention it, Richie Porte crashed BEFORE the cobbles). But they did. That is because they’re weapons. Skinny ones, but still weapons.

It irritates me that France won the World Cup

Because it’s not a football country. Not really. Their celebrations outside of Paris were lame at best. I want them to win the Tour de France. That’s what I genuinely hope for, maybe not this year, but soon.

France is most definitely a Tour de France country.

Upcoming events