No matter who your favourite rider is, or even if there isn’t one, you always know you are setting yourself up for an amazing spectacle with the Mother of All Bicycle Races. While your attention probably stays mostly on the contestants, let’s take a minute to appreciate the thousands of individuals behind organising, servicing, and staffing this gargantuan event. From the race’s director in the striking Velvet Red Škoda ENYAQ iV to his race marshals, the neutral-service Škoda vehicles, route planners, team crews, and much more – there is an amazing, dedicated crowd that’s passionate to make some magic happen. And if you throw in the colourful ocean of on-site onlookers, you get an atmosphere like no other.
If you are watching, either from the side-lines or on TV, you have a good chance of witnessing a piece of cycling history. You could see the birth of a legend such as Chris Froome, who won his first GC in 2012 and went on to win four more; or Peter Sagan, whom most now associate with the Škoda Green Jersey; the 2020 edition’s nail-biting concluding time trial from which Tadej Pogačar emerged victorious; or Eddy Merckx battling the unforgiving slopes of Mont Ventoux.
Or – it could be the first Tour de France Femmes after more than three decades. In the words of pro cyclist, author, filmmaker, activist and motivational speaker Kathryn Bertine: “A Women’s Tour de France is so much bigger than a bike race. It’s a beacon of progress for the society that men and women are valued equally at the top.” It is a milestone event for women’s cycling and equality in the sport in general, alongside prize money and sponsorships increasing globally. Hopefully, the Tour de France Femmes will also span three weeks next year.
Stay with us on the ride while we cover the La Grande Boucle closely, as we do each year.