TheMilkshakeman via Flickr
For this year’s race, course designer Jean-François Pescheux mapped out one of the more unique routes in tour history, including a trip to the island of Corsica and a night finish under the parisian lights—both firsts. The following stages are not to be missed, and like most spectator sports, they’re best enjoyed with a drink in hand. Which is why we asked former pro cyclist and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey, co-owner of the Boulder, Colorado, restaurant Frasca Food and wine, to suggest pairings to help heighten the action in the peloton.
Stage 1: Porto-Vecchio to Bastia jctdesign via Flickr
The Tour rolls through Corsica for the first time ever.
» Pair It With: Ajaccio Cuvée Faustine Blanc ($23). Winemaker Jean Charles Abbatucci fits perfectly into the Corsican tradition of offbeat thinkers: he plays classic Corsican songs to his grapes over loudspeakers mounted on his tractor.
Stage 4: Nice to Nice kristof ramon via Flickr
The team time trial will offer an early indication of which squad has the most firepower.
» Pair It With: Van Volxem Goldberg Riesling Erste Lage ($25). Team-time-trial star Tony Martin, who rides for Omega Pharma–Quick-Step, is an East German native. What better way to watch than with a great German Riesling?
Stage 13: Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond Radu Razvan via Shutterstock
This ride through the Loire river valley is flat, so sprinters have the advantage. Watch for gusty crosswinds that can cause crashes.
» Pair It With: Ronco Del Gnemiz sauvignon peri ($28). A fast ride demands something crisp and clean, with an extra gear—stone fruit, in the case of this sauvignon peri.
Stage 15: Givors to Mont Ventoux Garmin France via Flickr
At 242 kilometers (150 miles), this is the longest stage. It also comes just before the final rest day, so expect riders to push themselves to the brink.
» Pair It With: Lewis Cellars chardonnay ($50). California winemaker Randy Lewis, who decamps to this region for the Tour, is a former professional race-car driver, and he makes wines that match his character: boisterous and full-blown.
Stage 18: Gap to Alpe d’Huez jctdesign via Flickr
Fausto Coppi, Marco Pantani, and Carlos Sastre cemented their legacies here. This year riders negotiate it twice in one day, for a staggering 11,586 feet of elevation gain.
» Pair It With: G. D. Vajra Bricco delle Viole barolo ($71). An epic stage deserves an epic bottle, and barolo is known as the king of wines.
Stage 21: Versailles to Paris adambowie via Flickr
The winner has been decided, and the ceremonial route heads down the Champs-Élysées. But, new for 2013, riders hit the boulevard at dusk.
» Pair It With: Pierre Péters Cuvée Speciale Les Chetillons Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut ($104). There’s no better way to celebrate than with champagne.