The long road to Paris

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ON YER BIKE: Tour de France

MONDAY MORNING and the sports festivals of World Cup football and Wimbledon tennis are behind us.

A small hollow feeling is all that remains of the doubts, hopes, fears and excitements.

The last months have been fantastic, the entertainment superb, the participants have won glory and lasting fame. The sportsmen and women, the backroom men and women will now head off for well earned holidays to recover from their exertions.

I expect many of the English team and their back-office folk will be heading for warm and welcoming shores.

The Mediterranean of course.

Spain anyone?

Of course that leaves the armchair sports fan with a minor challenge; which sport to follow now.

Looking at the diary earlier I had seen this cliff-edge coming and realised that a sport that would cover the period and extend beyond is cycling.

Rather than cold turkey this morning I have a third sport to follow!

The Tour de France offers all the joys and anxieties that armchair followers of sport so enjoy. The anticipation, the personalities, their histories and the history of the sport.

And, which commentator to find agreeable – the scandals!

One hundred and sixty-seven men of the Tour remain after yesterday’s carnage across the cobbles from Arras Citadel to Roubaix.

Today being a rest day, they can try and tape up their wounds and recover a little.

Hopefully, none will decide to retire from the Tour and all 167 men will be saddling up on Tuesday for the first real mountain challenge Stage 10.

The route from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand with the climb up the Col de la Croix Fry will come just before a technical test heading up to the Plateau des Glières using a 2-km carriageway – without tarmac!

The riders will then have to take on a frightening double with the climbs up the Col de Romme and the legendary climb of la Colombière.

The commentary giving a prospect of challenges met and conquered, a sport presented in the context of magnificent scenery.

A televisual feast.

That takes care of tomorrow and tomorrows till the Tour rolls into Paris on July 29 with a champagne flute in hand.

What’s on next?

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