The moment I realised that the Tour de France could actually be watched in daylight came late in life for me. I was 40 and on my first summer trip in France. We walked past a cafe one afternoon that had the Tour showing on a big screen TV. There it was. The Tour. Live. On TV. In daylight. Could this really be happening? What is this crazy parallel universe where the Tour is on TV during the day?
What a lot of the world doesn’t appreciate is that thousands of Australians get up at ungodly hours of the night to watch the Tour. For three weeks every July we struggle to work all bleary eyed and fuelled on caffeine having had three hours sleep. Then the first hour of work is spent recapping the race, how the Australian cyclists are doing, and chatting about the scenery.
This watching the Tour live – not at 3am – is one of the many joys of moving to France. Last year the first three stages of the Tour were in Normandy so we joined thousands to see the peloton zip past as it flew through St Mere Eglise. And while seeing the Tour live is fabulous – the build up of the crowd, the caravan coming past with music blaring and free promo goodies being flung out (including lollies, stickers, flags, caps, madeleines and sausages…. yes, sausages) – it’s also a bit of an arduous process to find a spot, park, wait for the peloton, the peloton is gone in 5 seconds and you spend two hours trying to get home in the traffic. So this year we’re quite content that its coming nowhere near us and we can happily tune in every afternoon to watch the stunning French countryside (and a few cyclists).
Three years in France late we’re still more than a little bit excited to get to see the Tour during normal hours. So during the race weeks we’ll be setting up a TV in the guest living room every afternoon which will be tuned in to the Tour. (Note: we’re generally a TV-free zone here. In order to make everyone’s stay here as peaceful as possible, we don’t have TV’s in the guest rooms. But don’t panic, we’re not wifi-free… we’re not totally crazy.)