The Tour de France 2013 is starting and it's an exciting one.
Not because it is the 100th edition of the annual event. Not because of its endless "can't win it without doping" controversy . Not because 12 million spectators will take a glimpse from the sidelines. Not because 198 competitors are lined up to start.
It's exciting because fierce competitors are battling it out, like spanish star Alberto Contador, UK Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome, belgian amazing rider Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Australia's veteran Cadel Evans. According to many, Froome starts out as the favorite. Despite all of the precise odds measurements, the Tour has a mind of its own. It's exciting because it harbors an element of surprise.
It is exciting because it's the first time the TdF crosses Corsica, this magical "island of beauty".
Most of all, it's exciting to us because the Tour de France crosses the French Riviera!
If you live in south-eastern France or plan to visit this early July, this detail hasn't escaped you...
When does the Tour de France 2013 cross the French Riviera?
The Tour competitors land in Nice on the evening of Monday, July 1 to race the team time trials in Nice the next day (Stage 4).
Then, for Stage 5 of the Tour, they'll go from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille, crossing the French Riviera.
What are the best French Riviera spots to watch the Tour?
On Wednesday, July 3, 2013 cycling champs will dash out of Cagnes-sur-Mer around 12 noon and make their way to Marseille. The starting point is always exciting, as it's one of the few chances to actually see the competitors when they're not yet at full speed.
From Cagnes, the Tour will zoom to Biot (expected around 12:05PM), near Opio, Chateauneuf-Grasse (approx. 12:30PM), Grasse (12:36PM), Peymeinade, La Val du Tignet, Fayence (1:17PM) ,Draguignan (1:59PM), Lorgues, Entrecasteaux, Carcès, Brignoles, La Celle (3:15PM), La Roquebrussane (3:32PM) and off the the Bouches-du-Rhône departement. Marseille expects them around 5PM.
Other good spots to see the Tour are on the hills, where you have a chance at a glimpse long enough to recognize the individuals. The Côte de Châteauneuf-Grasse should be a good hill for watching on-site. It comes after about 20 kms of stage 5, and is expected to generate a break among the peloton. The Col de l'Ange near Draguignan will be the second minor hill among 4 such hills in this stage. Another good spot to watch.
Of course, watching on-site means getting there very very early, before road closures and a maze of detours. It also means heading back late, much after competitors, entourage and security have cleared the area.
What are the route restrictions during the Tour de France 2013 on the French Riviera?
The Promenade des Anglais in Nice will be dedicated to plenty of cycling-related events and fun, culminating in the Team Time Trials in Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2013 on Tuesday, July 2 starting at 3:15PM on the Nice Prom. These team time trials in Nice are only 25 kms, but 55km/hour average speed is expected so it will be over in a half-hour.
Access to the Nice airport will be impacted, especially on Sunday 30th June, 6.45 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.
and on Tuesday 2nd July, 11.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Closed areas during those times:
- Exits A8 N° 50 "Nice Promenade" and N°52 "St Isidore"
- Incoming roads and exits off the Le Voyageur roundabout
- The exit after Terminal 1 toward La Promenade
- St-Laurent-du-Var : diversion via Gerbault, closure of access to the RN98 Areas
What's expected for the French Riviera stage of the Tour de France?
EN - Analysis of the stage - Stage 5 (Cagnes... by tourdefrance