Those images of cols packed with spectators for the Tour de France doesn’t necessarily mean the entire French nation is interested in cycling. Paris-Roubaix got some decent audience figures but today the Amstel Gold is on but you can’t watch it on French TV, unless you have the specialist satellite/cable channel Eurosport.
Normally France Télévisions covers races, sometimes on France 3, which is available to all, sometimes on France 5 which is a digital channel with a smaller reach. But all too often, if the race takes place outside of France then it’s not broadcast, including big classics like the Amstel. I’ll write something one day about just how popular the sport is in France but when it comes to TV coverage, even big races like the Amstel are missing from mainstream broadcasts, a sign that the sport is not as popular as you might think.