Six things to do now the Tour de France has ended

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.

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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

Geraint Thomas on stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

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 season. The altered calendar in 2020 means we have even more racing than usual in a compact period from now until the end of November.

This weekend, riders will race in their national colours at the reorganised Road World Championships in Imola, Italy. We’ve got the elite women’s and men’s time trials on Thursday and Friday respectively, with the weekend featuring the elite women’s road race on Saturday and elite men’s road race on Sunday.

After that, it’s back to Grend Tour racing with the Giro d’Italia starting the following weekend, as well as all the men and women’s Classics at the same time – more than enough to keep you going.

UCI men’s WorldTour races

September 24 – 27, UCI Road World Championships
September 29 – October 3, BinckBank Tour
September 30, La Flèche Wallonne
October 3 EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg
October 3 – 25, Giro d’Italia
October 4, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
October 10, Amstel Gold Race
October 11, Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields
October 18, Tour of Flanders
October 20 – November 8, Vuelta a España
October 21, Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne
October 25, Paris-Roubaix

UCI women’s WorldTour racing

September 30, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine
October 4, Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes
October 10, Amstel Gold Race Ladies
October 11, Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields
October 18, Tour of Flanders
October 20, Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne
October 23-25, Tour of Chongming Island
October 25, Paris-Roubaix
November 6 – 8, Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta

2. Start thinking about next year’s Tour

Tadej Pogacar at the 2020 Tour de France (Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA)

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 108th edition will coincide with rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, so there’s plenty to look forward to, with Brittany the location of the Grand Départ.

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. Will Chris Froome return to the form of previous years as he attempts to win a record-equalling fifth title? Will Primož Roglič be able to topple Tadej Pogačar? Can Peter Sagan reclaim his green jersey? Almost enough to fill the next 11 months.

3. Trawl YouTube for unseen footage of the Tour

Fans with cameras at the Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

There may have been fewer spectators at this year’s Tour, but there was still enough out there waving smartphones and cameras around at the Tour, meaning 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 2020’ 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

Photo: Daniel Gould

Get out and ride! Photo: Daniel Gould

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 (a government limit of) them out too and engage in what is known as ‘conversation’ in the socially distanced outside world.

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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 156 kilometres race out and back from Nice, and pretend to be floored when riders start slip-sliding around in the rain before Alexander Kristoff wins.

If you’re still feeling glum about it all being over, the Giro d’Italia starts in just over a week (October 2 – October 24), and is usually as tantalising a prospect as the Tour de France.