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The Tour de France 2021 - It's baaaaaaaack!

It’s La Grande Boucle again! Here we are - 3 weeks of wonderful scenery, wonderful commentary (if you watch ITV4) and (on the boring stages) the best cycle gossip from visiting ex-pros.

What will there be this year?

  • Crazed weather events (hailstones, world-ending rain, heat stroke)?
  • ‘Outstanding’ and totally-not-due-to-doping performances and veiled mutterings?
  • Another team than Sky Ineos winnning?
  • Insane crashes in the early stages with a twitchy peleton?
  • AG2R now with Citroën and NOT IN BROWN AND BLUE!!
  • People actually nostalgic for AG2R La Mondiale colours??

Three weeks, of letting emails pile up, watching your loved ones faces mist over as you talk about the day’s break and that amazing crash and that crazy decent and who’s on GC, and finding that you’ve developed bedsores as you watch both the live coverage, the edited highlights etc.

And… what wine will you drink to calm down?

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My big question:

  • given the absence of Thibault Pinot and his tendency to suffer knee injuries/unfortunate crashes/mysterious acts of god, who is the new darling of French cycling, and in which way will they tragically disappoint?
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I’ve witnessed first hand the TdF (Pyrenees) and Boy is it Dullsville…zzzzz…Suddden explosion of excitement… then…you’ve guessed it…

Plus the preceding caravan of carnival floats chucking tatt out everywhere. Goodness knows what the Carbon Footprint of the whole shebang is.

It’s much better on the Telly by a country kilometre.

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Unless you have actually raced a bike, and I don’t mean Rouler events which are not racing however much those taking part like to think they are, you have no idea what is involved for the riders.
I was not a road rider, I rode on the track, but I met Tom Simpson a few times as he was a very good distance track rider before turning to the road, going abroad and staying in digs, trying to make a mark as an amateur so as to be noticed and get a contract with a professional team, no Lottery money in those days he used earnings as a draughtsman and had to work in the winter so as to have another go the following year.

Anyone who has been up Mt Ventoux can see the memorial to him, ghastly desolate place one can only imagine what it was like in the heat when he died, I have nothing but admiration for them all, to even finish the race is an achievement way beyond most other sports.
Everyone to their own for sure, but carbon footprint, what do you suggest, that they cancel the event, all the football being played around Europe now, all F1 events, plenty of carbon used there, perhaps on that basis you would cancel all your vineyard visits around the world, that must use up some precious carbon to, you can’t be two faced about things like that, what’s good for the goose etc…
.

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They are some seriously tough cyclists…the number of falls and to get back on the bike and continue unlike the footballers of today who invariably are “dying” but miraculously can run around a few moments later, riding those steep ascents in the alps etc. I take my hat off to them - chapeau!

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I have to agree. I’ve watched several stages and it’s over in a flash. The only exception to this was the Time Trial in London a few years back.

Looking forward to the next 3 weeks :grinning:

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I always remember the Dutch cyclist who nearly hit a fencepost, being knocked off his bike by a TV car (that was then kicked out). He went and got stitches, didn’t sleep for getting flashbacks (probably a bit of PTSD!) and still got on his bike the next day and moreover was just grateful he only hit barbed wire and not a fencepost and just grateful he didn’t end up in a wheelchair.

Another breed indeed. Chapeau!

Can Cav score any more stage wins? (four more to equal Eddie!)

When will Julian Alaphilippe implode?

Will Froome actually cope with riding as something other than Leader?

Which of the ridiculous number of contenders at Ineos will end up at the top of their team? (and then not win)

Will Peter Sagan get his Green back?

Will we see another Slovak one two? (I think so).

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Johnny Hoogerland. Remember it well :face_with_head_bandage:

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Not sure Cav can get 4 but really hope he gets at least one and doesn’t do another Harrogate!

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Stage 6 starts in Tours so a Vouvray, or Montlouis, is on the cards here.

It would be rude not to drink something from the Southern Rhone on stage 11’s double ascent of Mt Ventoux.

There’s plenty of opportunity for wine related pleasure on stage 13 ( Nimes to Carcassonne ). On top of the start and finish towns the stage also passes through Pic St-Loup and Minervois. An eye patch to combat double vision may be required by the end of that one !

For claret lovers, the ITT from Libourne to St-Emilion on stage 20 should provide plenty of scope too ( damnit, I’m out of Cheval Blanc :wink:).

Thankfully, at least for my liver health, most of week one is in Brittany and Normandy and that Alsace, Burgundy and the Northern Rhone aren’t visited this year.

Anyway, roll on Saturday and let the spectacle begin !

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Ah, Brittany and Normandy… I think Cidre as a light starter to the inevitably crash-‘n’-echelon-madness of the opening week?

Is it going near Jura? I have a box of Crémant de Jura there…

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Is Froome in? Did he make it? He was in horrible form at the Dauphine. I really feel for him. He’s grimly getting back to form. Chapeau to him.

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Thanks for kicking off this thread. Hope it’s not going to be a Slovenia vs Ineos bore fest.

In terms of a tipple, for the early stages - could always cheat and try the Bacchus from Cornwall- nearer than a Loire-Atlantiqué Muscadet :grinning:

Quick heads-up that La Course, the women’s one day race, has moved back a day to follow a similar route to the Grand Depart. La Course starts in Brest on Saturday and finishes atop the Cote de la Fosse aux Loups in Landerneau, 107km in all.

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Yes, but as road captain rather than team leader.

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Bardet is just as bad. Alaphilippe could surprise?

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I really hope so. He’s such a fun rider to watch.

Apparently the French press are going nuts for David Gaudu in FDJ this year. I know basically nothing about him, but he’s young and actually in the race.

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keep an eye on Sepp Kuss
I might have sixpence each way on him for a couple of stages. A future winner I think

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Yes, albeit the bulk of the alpine stages are in Savoie / Haute-Savoie this year. Which would be close enough for me to be tempted by your Cremant de Jura !

How about a TdF mixed case? My suggestions are

  • No Pinot of any kind, to reflect the absence of the tragically misfortunate Thibault

  • In tribute to last year’s winner, we include the second most high profile Slovenian bottle on the list

  • Any of the Chateau whose vinyards are adjacent to the rouute fo the Bordeaux time trial.

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