You don’t have to go sit by the roadside every day to appreciate the race. French TV airs every stage in almost its entirety, and nearly every restaurant and bar in the country will have it playing. Some of my favorite days involved a handful of hours in the saddle followed by a recovery meal and drink (erm, drinks) while screaming at the TV side-by-side with locals at the brasserie. The network’s fixation with the French riders can be a bit much—at the finish at Le Grand Bornand, there were lengthy interviews with Pierre Roland, Christophe Riblon, and Thomas Voeckler but only a few seconds with stage winner Rui Costa. Then again, at least you don’t have to put up with the vapid yammering of Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett.
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