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 of the race.
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 from *-***, 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 inrng.com/calendar page which has the calendar for all the main men’s and women’s pro races this year and a fuller explanation of how to put a calendar into Outlook, an iPhone, your diary etc.
All stages – plus La Course – will be broadcast live from start to finish but this doesn’t mean you should watch every minute, there will be days when I like to imagine the only viewers are locals looking to see their house on TV, mummified hospital patients in traction unable to reach the remote and so on. It’s not for nothing that Le Monde jokingly publishes a guide du sieste and if this year’s route has more anti-siesta moments there will of course be plenty of quieter moments.
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.
This year the timing of the finish will vary, some are due for 4.45pm CEST, some for 5.40pm so check the daily previews here for the timings.
France Télévisions will be filming meaning the usual high quality images but little extra on top. 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, including 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. Both France Télévisions and Eurosport have a website where you can select your own camera eg Moto 1, Moto 3 etc which can be fun but after five minutes you quickly appreciate the value of slick production and the ability to cut to the action.