Tour de France iCal

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.

66 thoughts on “Tour de France iCal”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  6. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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?

        • 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.

        • 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 🙂

    • 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?

      • 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.

        • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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?

      • 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).

    • 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?

      • 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.

        • 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.

  9. 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.

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

  10. 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 ^__^)!

  11. 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?

    • 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).

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