The magic of the Tour De France not only captivates but fascinates millions of people from all corners of the planet.  Some of them will be cyclists themselves, men and women who have felt the pain and the pleasure of riding the exact same roads as their Tour heroes.  Though for the vast majority the chance to visit France, let alone ride a bike on the hallowed tarmac of the French roads is nothing more than a dream.

The Tour is the most televised annual sporting event and is screened to every continent on Earth.  Everyone will have their own personal reason as to the allure of this sporting feat.  Many of us enjoy the “sprint” stages, 200km of cat and mouse racing where the breakaway, or escapees are given only so much time before they are reeled in and the sprinters teams take over.  Five hours of dangling forlornly off the front only to be caught , sometimes just metres from the finish line.  This is where the sprinters, who have remained hidden and protected by their loyal team mates, pop out in the last 50 meters to claim their prize.  The ultimate prize of a Tour stage victory.  The escapees, having been caught, often face the ignominy of nothing more than winning the day’s ‘most combatative rider’ award.  The prize often as meagre as a lump of cheese provided by the day’s sponsor or a crate of wine to be washed away with their dreams of a career changing victory.  A victory so cruelly quashed for another year at least.

Read more