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 (August 4), and the start list contains many familiar faces from the Tour – such as Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac).
After that, there’s the Tour of Poland and the BinckBank Tour, whilst the UCI women’s WorldTour heads to Sweden for the Vargarda team time trial and road race.
UCI men’s WorldTour races
|4 August||Clásica Ciclista San Sebastian||Spain|
|4-10 August||Tour of Poland||Poland|
|13-19 August||BinckBank Tour||Netherlands/Belgium|
|19 August||Cyclassics Hamburg||Germany|
|25 August-16 September||Vuelta a España||Spain|
|26 August||Bretagne Classic–Ouest-France||France|
|7 September||Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec||Canada|
|9 September||Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal||Canada|
|9-14 October||Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey||Turkey|
|13 October||Il Lombardia||Italy|
|16-21 October||Tour of Guangxi||China|
UCI women’s WorldTour races
|10 August||Vargarda team time trial||Sweden|
|12 August||Vargarda road race||Sweden|
|16-19 August||Ladies Tour of Norway||Norway|
|25 August||GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération||France|
|28 August-2 September||Boels Ladies Tour||Netherlands|
|16 September||Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta||Spain|
|21 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 moved forward a week, to allow time for the FIFA World Cup to run its course. In 2019, things return to normal and the race will start on June 29 and run until July 21 – with a Grand Départ in Brussels.
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. Froome said he reckons a Giro/Tour double is still possible in the future… will he attempt it? Will he and Thomas remain on the same team, or is even Team Sky not a big enough stomping ground for two leaders of their calibre? Will Mark Cavendish have some better luck, and return to match Eddy Merckx’s tally of stage victories? 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 2018’ 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 by building yourself a virtual time machine, with the assistance of catch-up TV.
Start with stage one – the 201 kilometres from Noirmoutier-En-l’Île to Fontenay-Le-Comte, and pretend (spoiler alert) to be surprised when Chris Froome crashes in the final 10km, and Nairo Quintana loses even more time thanks to punctures. You won’t believe who abandons on stage nine...
If you’re still feeling glum about it all being over, the Vuelta a España starts in just a few weeks (August 25 to September 16), and has been as entertaining over the last few years as the Tour de France.