France in July. For the past 19 years, the month of July equals visiting France with very good friends. We’ve toured just about every nook and cranny of the Hexagon, from the famed cobblestone roads in the north to the never-ending fields of sunflowers swaying gently in the southern breeze. We’ve discovered Roman viaducts, mountain peaks that soar above the clouds, and charming towns in Provence. Never-mind that I only made my first trip to Paris for our twentieth anniversary, we had prepared our bucket list long before because of those many years spent touring France in July—vicariously, then virtually, through the Tour de France.
The 105th edition of the Tour de France, the most coveted championship in all of cycling, departs Saturday morning in Vendee. The route cover over 2,000 miles (3,351 kilometers) in just 21 days (plus two “rest days” for the cyclists). Twenty-two teams (286 cyclists) begin le Tour tomorrow—there’s a good chance many will be collected by the “Broom Wagon” or be forced to “abandon” the race due to illness or injury along the route before the Peleton arrives in Paris July 29. But the majority with arrive in Paris after accomplishing this unimaginable journey.
Just a little teaser ~ courtesy of Le Tour de France
© Amaury Sport Organisation #TDF2018
Even if you are not a fan of cycling, the television coverage is so worth the time. The country is showcased as much as the race itself, and you’ll learn French history from Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, who guide us through every Tour stage.
Another July tradition, the Daytona Firecracker 400 coincidentally shares the airwaves this weekend with the Tour de France. Plus the World Cup quarterfinals. Thank you, DVRs, video streaming, and wireless headphones!
Standing on the side of the Champs-Elysees as the teams triumphantly completed the Tour lands in my top five sports experiences. The sheer beauty and speed of the Peleton as it races up and down the Champs made the six-hour curbside wait absolutely worthwhile. (Photo courtesy of my husband.)
I’ve made my peace with the decades of doping revelations surrounding the Tour. Of course, it’s never fun to see your hero fall off the pedestal, but in my opinion, the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) is nothing new and pervasive in many sports, even today. Technology stays one step ahead of detection tests and it’s tempting to ignore the issue because of the ratings boosts that come when suddenly super-powered athletes blast massive numbers of home runs or set track and field records. As far as the Tour de France, the “Armstrong Era” produced incredible interest in the sport in the US—and some of the most exciting races ever. I now consider that era a “level playing field” when you count the number of elite teams and riders sanctioned for doping. Today, you’ll hear about “mechanical doping”—seriously—outfitting a bike with a micro accelerator that the rider can activate when he/she needs extra help. Or the use of asthma medication in levels that far surpass normal limits.
Will future projects include a sports romance featuring a cyclist? Perhaps. Men in bike shorts, anyone?
Looking for Your Next Beach Boyfriend?
It’s almost midsummer and perhaps time to refresh your eReaders with some new beach/pool reads! Check out this month’s selection of free and bargain romance books, sponsored by Buzz Books.
You’ll find contemporary, M/M and paranormal romance—some sweet, some spicy, and others smoking hot! Super excited that the soon-to-released box set for Clearing the Ice, the Complete Series is included in this promotion! Take a look at the many choices—don’t miss these limited-time deals! Here are just a sample of the books you’ll find ~
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