The 2020 Tour de France was one of the most significant races of the last decade. Since 2012, Team Sky dominated the ultimate event in road cycling under the governance of Sir Dave Brailsford. He masterminded a team that would remain the dominant force on the roads for years to come. It started with Bradley Wiggins, and then Chris Froome took over as the heir to the throne, claiming the yellow jersey in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2018, injury struck the ageing star, paving the way for teammate Geraint Thomas to take the crown.
Anyone with even a passing interest in cycling is keenly aware of the most important event in the world of competitive racing: the Tour de France. Winners of the Tour de France typically go on to become household names, as well as the de facto best cyclists on the planet. For any competitive cyclist, entering and placing in the Tour de France is a lifelong dream, one that countless riders have spent their entire lives training for.
I cycled a bit of this way back in 2010. It was an impressive, if rather damp, section of the route to southern Italy, my version of the EuroVelo 5. The EuroVelo 19, coming in at around 1,000 km is a manageable length and takes in cycling through three countries; Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Here’s a new video from the European Cyclists’ Federation to promote the route.
With one of cycling’s three Grand Tour’s now behind us in 2021, it is time to look ahead to what is on the horizon and with the Tour De France back in its more familiar timeslot this year, we cannot look much further than events in and around Paris this month. After the 2020 edition of the Tour was threatened by the still ongoing threat of COVID-19, it was eventually staged across August and September and although it had a rather difficult look and feel to it, there was no shortage in drama.
The Paris-Roubaix cycle race has been postponed until later in the year. No surprise there bearing in mind the new lockdown just announced in France. Cobbles are an (almost) every day part of cycling here in the Calder Valley of Yorkshire. My bones have been shaken on a regular basis in recent years since my return to God’s Own County. Perhaps they should have just moved it to the north of England rather than waiting until the autumn of 2021… I wrote about the Paris-Roubaix in Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie.
As I was croaking my way through recording the links for the latest episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast that was published overnight, I mentioned that I would put all the relevant links to the accommodation providers on the website. We, here I am doing just that. The four people interviewed were Tahverlee Anglen from the accommodation sharing website WarmShowers, Simon Ainley from the Youth Hostel Association of England and Wales, Simon Kershaw from a new hotel – soon to be a chain of hotels – called Bike and Boot in Scarborough and the wild camper Tim Millikin. You can find more details about Tim’s travels and the book he has written by visiting his website.