Source: Smudge 9000 (Flickr Creative Commons)
With Tour de France fever building up at SportPursuit headquarters and all around the country, the biggest question for many cycling fans right now is where to watch this year’s Tour. With the first three stages taking place in our hallowed homeland, there are many great options for watching the tour live and in person, as well as appealing options for following the action from a distance. Here are our top tips for where to watch the Tour de France.
Where to watch the Tour de France in person
Saturday 5th July: Stage 1 – 190km from Leeds to Harrogate.
Watch the Grand Départ live from Leeds city centre and enjoy the atmosphere at the accompanying cycling festival. Alternatively, catch the first end of stage sprint in Idyllic Harrogate and see who gets to wear the first yellow jersey. Other key live viewing spots during this stage are Buttertubs Pass (the biggest climb of stage 1) and the picturesque villages of Reeth and Grinton where riders will pass through before they start the climb up to Grinton Moor.
Sunday 6th July: Stage 2 – 201km from York to Sheffield
If you miss the opportunity to see the riders set off from Leeds, then historic York gives you another chance. Arrive early and set yourself in a nice spot by the start line – the optimal viewing spot for seeing both the publicity ‘caravan’ and the pro riders. If you want to see the riders race up one of the most iconic climbs in Britain, head over to Holme Moss, near Holmfirth. Two of the best vantage points are 1) up on the roadside bankings for a slight ‘view from above’ or 2) on the road itself to be in the midst of the action. Other key spots to see the action live are Oughtibridge Lane (slow, steep ascent) and Jenkin Road (short and steep final ascent) in Sheffield.
Monday 7th July: Stage 3 – 155km from Cambridge to London
The final stage in Britain will end regally as the cyclists ride from Cambridge to London. Cambridge is a city well known for its love of bikes, so expect hordes of cycling fans lining the streets of the famous university city for the beginning of stage 3. If you want to view the action live from the nation’s capital, be there for the sprint finish along one of London’s most iconic and prestigious landmarks, The Mall. Other key viewing points include the quaint village of Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire and East London locales – Leyton, Stratford and West Ham.
Other options for following the Tour de France
If you want to feel the fantastic atmosphere at some of the tour’s most iconic locations, this is the option for you. Watch the Tour de France on giant screens with fellow fans and enjoy the festival atmosphere that the tour brings. There will be a number of Tour de France Fan Parks dotted around over various dates. Fan Parks will be located in Harrogate, Green Park, Trafalgar Square and Canary Wharf. Visit the Fan Park website for more details.
If getting outside to enjoy the Tour de France is a mere pipe dream, you can watch the finish of each stage live on ITV as well as an hour of highlights every night.
On Saturday 5th July, Both the Old Street and Mare Street branches of Look Mum No Hands will be screening the Tour live on their big screens. This cycling-centric Café is a great spot to hang out with like minded folks and watch the tour.
If you have no access to a TV or a live video stream, the official account for the Tour is the place to keep up with the latest Tour news and progress 140 characters at a time.
Stages 1 to 3 will be shown on a large outdoor screen in the delightful North Park. Entry is free and don’t forget to pack yourself a picnic. The screen will be showing the action live from 11am to 5pm at Hopkin’s Field, opposite the Copper Box Arena.