Tour de France iCal

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Here’s a downloadable calendar of the Tour de France for your electronic diary or phone with brief details of each stage. There’s also a look at the TV coverage ahead for July.

The format proves very popular, perhaps there’s a big demand to schedule work and social life around the crucial days? With this in mind each stage has a star rating, a subjective take on the stage’s importance to the race, whether drama or likely importance for the overall classification.

If you’re familiar with ical files, here’s the URL for the ics file:

Save the ics / iCal / iCalendar file and you can import it into your electronic diary. One or two clicks and it’s on your iPhone / Outlook etc. The default settings have alerts switched off but check your device to avoid nocturnal alarms.

Alternatively if you use Google then see calendar below and the +Google Calendar link on the bottom-right. Note this method can work with Android phones when the iCal file might not.

If you want more help on how to make use of this, see the page which has the calendar for all the main men’s and women’s pro races in 2018 and a fuller explanation of how to put a calendar into Outlook, an iPhone, your diary etc.

TV coverage
Like last year all stages – and La Course – will be broadcast live from start to finish. Because of the FIFA World Cup the timing of the first week’s stages varies a lot to avoid clashing with the football.

It pays to be selective. Some stages will be fascinating to watch in full. Others won’t be and complaining it’s boring to watch three riders from wildcard invitee teams “animate” the stage by riding through-and-off for 180km before an inevitable sprint finish… is daft given we knew this would happen. Perhaps check in early to see if there’s a lively start and to use the TV coverage like you might with radio, as something on in the background.

France Télévisions will be filming and new for 2018 is the use of a high speed camera on a motorbike which will allow more slow motion shots with greater detail, hopefully sometimes able to catch a particular incident such as a look but going by previous productions also capable of providing some filler for the airtime.  They also have two motorbikes with reporters, one in front of the peloton to go with the breakaway and one behind to note what’s happening at the back, like dropped riders and mechanicals and a new recruit here is Thomas Voeckler. The domestic coverage is good but otherwise you’ll find it at home on Eurosport, NBC, SBS, ITV or wherever you live with your usual commentary team.

NSW June 26, 2018 at 11:34 am


Larry G June 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm


Leo S June 26, 2018 at 11:35 am

I really like that first photo. It’s very hard to convey to someone who hasn’t experienced it, the intensity of finding yourself at the back of a strung out bunch like that and doing everything you can not to get dropped.

The Inner Ring June 26, 2018 at 2:32 pm

And wondering who is able to set the pace up at front.

Nicktarios June 28, 2018 at 4:33 am

Ha yes, that is spot on. I often find myself saying “who the #$%^ is on the front now?” when this happens to me.

H Bomb June 30, 2018 at 12:46 pm

It’s Fabian Cancellara, and he has a motor (Boonen says so)

Anonymous June 26, 2018 at 11:53 am

They really need to innovate with the coverage. Viewers should be able to switch between camera bikes to view the race from different parts of the peloton – like in the Le Mans 24 heures coverage.

MK June 26, 2018 at 1:41 pm

You can switch between cameras when in Fance and watching online. It’s pretty cool

The Inner Ring June 26, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Yes, viewers in France can do this already and outside too via the Eurosport Player app.

The Wee Hon June 26, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Does TF1 (France Television) have an on-line service for viewing in France? (same way that BBC i-player works in UK).

Ecky Thump June 26, 2018 at 4:42 pm

is there a split screen to watch the World Cup and the cycling? 🙂

The Inner Ring June 27, 2018 at 9:32 am

It’s not TF1 but FR2 and FR3 and you can watch online but up to you to be in France or get your internet connection in France.

BenW June 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Ooooh this addition to Eurosport is news to me, as a subscriber that could be fun come July. Thanks 🙂

Dylan June 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Thanks Inrng, the ical is a great resource. Stages 9, 11 and all the Pyrenees stages look esp enticing. Hoping I can grab a day or two off-work to watch in full.

AP June 26, 2018 at 2:47 pm

I nervously await this TdF with a morbid fascination. I suspect the new hi-tech cameras will be looking out for those juicy gossip-generating non-cycling incidents too.

Kevin Smith June 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

My main request for the coverage is to be able to quickly identify who is in a group.

It seems pretty easy for a group of four in a breakaway to be indentified but a group of 15 GC riders on the side of a mountains seems to take an age to identify. Who’s in the group? Who is not? We often rely on the TV commentator’s wonderful eyesight to pick out the riders.

Feels to me quite easy to do and can be seen in other sports (horse racing, sailing etc).

RonDe June 26, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Chris Froome is the one in yellow Kevin 🙂

Ecky Thump June 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Romain Bardet and Hugo Llloris double, this year RonDe 🙂

RonDe June 26, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Optimism is a praiseworthy quality Ecky. But so is realism 🙂

Kevin Smith June 27, 2018 at 12:32 am

He was the guy covered in yellow a few years back.

Larry T June 27, 2018 at 8:21 am

ANYBODY but Froome. He’s ruined La Vuelta 2017, Giro 2018 and now he could ruin LeTour 2018 as well. The sport needs this like it needs another doping scandal……..but I guess that’s redundant.

AP June 27, 2018 at 10:14 am

For me, these sort of frenzied reactions that swamp social media are just as harmful to the sport’s image.

Also, I’m sure you’d admit that without the salbutamol case, we’d all be instead complaining that Sky are killing the sport by suffocating it… after several years of crying wolf, now that there is reason to worry I actually find it hard to care.

The Inner Ring June 27, 2018 at 10:16 am

This is a blog post with a calendar for the Tour de France stages. Does everything have to turn to the topic of Team Sky?

Kavan June 26, 2018 at 5:41 pm

And Thomas of Ghent is in the break.

hoh June 28, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Thomas outside of Gent is probably the one dragging the GC group.

The Inner Ring June 26, 2018 at 7:43 pm

The Tour is one of the few races to have this tech with its sponsorship deal with Dimension Data (the actual tech is provided by a small French firm called Hikob), but up to them to get a functioning website because the location services haven’t been very user friendly.

Noel June 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Cummings is the one at the back, and if he’s not he’s the one at the front.

Utah June 27, 2018 at 8:14 am

Geriant Thomas is the one on the ground

Pilgrim June 26, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Interesting stuff about the motorbikes. I’ve always wondered whether, as well as being a physical danger to the riders on the road, whether the fact that motorbikes are seemingly omnipresent presents problems with exhaust fumes too?

Has any race tried using electric motorcycles ( obvs not the actual peleton themselves *cough Cancellara cough*) for the camera bikes?

The Inner Ring June 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm

You need to have bikes with the range to cover 240km stages plus capacity to get to/from the stage start/finish each day and then facilities around rural France to charge them overnight. It’d be nice but the tech and infrastructure isn’t there yet.

ZigaK June 27, 2018 at 8:28 am

Quick google search: zero motorcycles have a range of 360km and can easily recharge overnight. And as they usually just cruise at low speeds, the range is probably even more than that.
btw: I heard that Vaughters ammiraglia is a tesla model S. Is this true?

The Inner Ring June 27, 2018 at 8:55 am

Yes, they have the Tesla but it does not have the range for a race. Whatever the stated range for the car, once you put bikes on the roof and ruin the aerodynamics, then do the stop-start driving you find in a race convoy it’s not enough battery power for most days at a race.

BenW June 28, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Took me a couple of reads to work out you were talking about a brand, and not that there are no electric motorbikes capable of such distances. Unfortunate branding, in that respect I suppose 🙂

Pilgrim June 27, 2018 at 10:07 am

Thanks! Lord knows what the Tour’s carbon footprint is!

ocaz June 27, 2018 at 11:55 am

I often wonder the terrible MPG they get given the type of driving the team cars do

hoh June 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm

More the reason to go electric. I think our host had an article about Tour eco foot print a few years back and it’s massive.

dimitri June 28, 2018 at 3:36 am

Paris is banning diesel cars from 2024 onwards, and petrol cars from 2030 (see link below). So the Tour de France has 6 years to make itself free from diesel, and 12 years to make all its logistics electric (assuming Paris is a hosting a stage…). Given the Emission reduction targets agreed within the Paris Agreement, the Tour will have to plan to go electric but with the range increases of electrical cars that won’t be a problem. (And given France is heavily dependent on Nuclear, emissions from charging cars is low already).

wannabemekon June 27, 2018 at 7:56 am

I always wonder if it isn’t maddening for the riders to have a motorbike (and helicopter, and cars, etc.) constantly nearby–the noise would make me bonkers. Can you imagine riding some endless col with a moto 15 feet behind or in front at every hairpin?

ZigaK June 27, 2018 at 8:22 am

They can’t hear them over the crowd cheering.

weeclarky June 27, 2018 at 8:18 pm

sounds like commuting in london

Dave June 27, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Imagine there might be a safety issue with not being able to hear the motorbike. Sure they can use the horn but the sound of the motor helps

Another Dave June 27, 2018 at 11:29 pm

Fit them with sound emitters like all electric vehicles racing at Pikes Peak are required to have.

It’s a moot point, there aren’t any which could handle the distance required.

Cassandra July 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Why can’t they just change bikes , as in a relay?

There are plenty of stopping and passing places on the outskirts of French towns which would be suitable ( maybe Carrefour should have a look at adding this facility to their sponsorship )

When the TDF came to our town, the main square was roped of f for two days in advance so the ‘dignitaries’ could have lunch. Setting up Moto parks shouldn’t be beyond them.

Looking over my shoulder June 26, 2018 at 6:18 pm

The Tour of Britain used two electric bikes on the time trial stage last year (for officials, not TV).

I don’t think the technology is currently available to keep a TV moto working for a whole day; not forgetting the camera and uplinks etc for live broadcast usually draw power from the the engine.

I know the main provider of TV motos in the UK has an electric bike that has been used for running races and may have been used in a crit on an experimental basis.

Dime June 27, 2018 at 10:15 am

Far far too many motorcycles on these races, has been for years and it never seems to lessen. Some dodgy moments seen over the years. Electric moto’s would be good except the near silence they operate at, I could envisage more rider/moto incidents because of this.

Anonymous June 27, 2018 at 3:08 pm

The silence issue is a good point. Camera phones have had an audible click added to their operation for reasons of user-friendliness. Could something similar be done for electric vehicles on the arguably more important grounds of safety?

Dave June 27, 2018 at 11:22 pm

The phone camera click is for safety too, safety against upskirting etc that is.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb mandates that electric vehicles have a sound emitter fitted, the same could be done with electric motos used for sport events.

The bigger problem with going electric for motos in road cycling is that there aren’t any which would have the battery capacity to give adequate range and power the necessary equipment (radio, TV camera uplink etc).

Anonymous June 27, 2018 at 5:44 pm

It’s often said but which ones to get rid of? The police bikes keeping the crowds away, the commissaires, the regulators controlling when vehicles like team cars can pass, the one with the water bottles on a hot day? Race photographers and TV cameras to convey the action?

Louis June 27, 2018 at 7:10 pm

I was watching this year’s Dauphiné on France Television and they kept going back to their reporter on a motorcycle in the race (can’t remember who it was, an ex-pro anyway) and I thought the added value was rather low. Some French radio networks also have their guy on on motorcycle. I would start there.

Dave June 27, 2018 at 11:27 pm

It really depends on the quality of the reporter.

Anyway, it’s not these motos (which cruise along at the speed of the race) that are the problem, getting rid of them won’t make any difference at all.

No motos need to be removed completely, there just need to be better processes for dealing with those motos which have to move around in relation to the race such as road closure marshals moving to another junction further along the route.

headasunder June 27, 2018 at 9:35 pm

robots and drones will take over camera duties in the near-ish future and in 10 or so years the winner will also probably be a robot. Looking forward to the tour thank you inring for your erudite posts and the ical.

Anonymous June 28, 2018 at 1:02 am

Should TUEs be granted for temporary circuit board replacements in cases of temporary robot malfunctions? The cycling community needs to start having this discussion.

Cassandra July 1, 2018 at 2:05 pm

This bloke is getting really, really boring. I can see why he doesn’t have a name, people might be putting it on a piece of paper and setting fire to it.

The Inner Ring July 1, 2018 at 2:06 pm

It’s also boring reading comments from readers sniping at each other. I might delete these kind of comments.

gabriele June 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Hello everybody. A bit of an awkward and self-centred note (as if anyone cared), but I felt like writing this down. I haven’t been much around because of a complicated academic application and I don’t think I’ll be back for the Tour, either, because of an upcoming childbirth…
Enjoy and see you later on (…well, I hope so ^__^)!

ZigaK June 28, 2018 at 1:52 pm


RQS June 28, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Congrats and good luck (with the application).

If this is your first we’ll be hearing from you less, based on my experience alone.

Eskerrik Asko June 28, 2018 at 4:27 pm


J Evans June 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Yours and Mrs gabriele’s gain will be our loss. Best of luck with it all.

RQS June 28, 2018 at 3:04 pm

In other news has anyone else clocked that David Millar’s documentary ‘Time Trial’ is soon to be released on download etc? Anyone familiar with ‘Racer’ will know that he had this in the pipeline going back to 2014.

Inrng: you likely to review this?

BenW June 28, 2018 at 4:02 pm

I didn’t see the download news but I’ll be catching it in the cinema. Looking forward to seeing what it’s all about (years and years of production has piqued curiosity in me, rather than hype so much, not to mention the supposedly divisive ending).

RQS June 29, 2018 at 8:21 am

I’ve not heard about the ending, what’s divisive about it?

ocaz July 2, 2018 at 11:38 am

I think the ending is a bit marmite – people love or hate it.

I think knowing the ending spoils it (FYI I don’t know the ending but that is what I’ve been told)

Jen in Oz July 2, 2018 at 6:03 am

Just wondering what the stars mean in each event! There is a variety of number for different days.

The Inner Ring July 2, 2018 at 8:40 am

It’s a subjective guide to how exciting/important each day’s stage should be.

Timb July 2, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Thank you!

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