The most famous three weeks in cycling are back for the summertime! As the 96th Tour de France kicks off this July, hundreds of thousands of people will flock to this year’s twenty-one race route cities. The race departs Saturday, July 4th in Monaco, and after three weeks of winding around the French countryside (and even a little bit of Switzerland, Italy, and Spain) will finish at the Champs-Élysées on July 26th.
The New York Times has called the race like “running a marathon several days a week for nearly three weeks,” comparing the climbs of the race to “climbing three [Mount] Everests,” and yet, every year twenty teams line up for the gruelling race.
These teams are quite international, coming from Germany, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the US, France, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and even Kazakhstan. And, this year, with the return of Lance Armstrong, the competition is on, full-force, for the race. Will he win an 8th race? Guess we’ll have to watch and see.
If you’re a cycling fan, check out the Tour de France’s official website for history, rules, facts, and race 2009 news.
Whether you’re on the sidelines of the race track watching, or want to try it out yourself on a cycling tour, there are tons of great options. Cycling is an easy (and green!) way to explore any new country. See Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and many other cities in a totally new light, and get some exercise while you’re at it! With the beautiful summer weather already in full-force, there are no more excuses.