Le Tour de France

If you’ve been noticing a fair amount of cyclists on the way to work today you’ve been a victim of the July craze that is the Tour de France. The Tour de France is the ultimate annual cycling event in the world. Taking place in France every July, the 23 day competition takes the riders through a rigorous 3,500 mile course hitting every terrain the country has to offer. The race typically goes through one stage a day for 20 days and consists of over 150 riders. A stage can be anywhere from 50 to 300 miles in one day, ending with a sprint through Paris to the finish line.

This year America’s Lance Armstrong is trying to make a comeback and win an unprecedented 8th Tour de France. Armstrong is the all time leader with 7 wins which he won consecutively from 1999 to 2005. Armstrong is the prototypical hero to millions; surviving from testicular and brain cancer to win one of the most grueling physical competitions multiple times.

During the tour there are so many stops and checkpoints, making your stay in any region will most likely give you a look at the race from the roadside. Locals come out of their towns to celebrate the event and cheer their countrymen on. If you’d ever had the urge to participate in a foreign national pastime, this is fairly easy to assimilate into. Some mainstay hotspots on the tour include Montpellier, Marseille, Monaco and Paris. Go to the official Tour de France website to keep up with Lance, and check out any of the cities you’d like to visit.