It wouldn’t be summer without the Tour de France. There’s something comforting about turning on the TV on those summer days, as the sun shines brightly through the window and the washing blows lightly in the breeze, and seeing the famous old race weave through scenic landscapes and country villages.
The Tour de France is one of those events that attracts lovers of sport, rather than just fans of cycling. It’s up there with Wimbledon, the Ashes and the Super Bowl as a competition that gets people watching and gets people talking. Despite the controversy that has embroiled cycling in recent years, the Tour de France remains unaffected in terms of its popularity among the sporting public – those who can’t get enough of the thrills and spills the race offers.
And so you can imagine the jubilation when it was confirmed that the Tour de France would indeed take place in 2020. The coronavirus crisis has claimed many sporting events this summer – the Grand National and Wimbledon to name just two, and so it was a major relief for all sporting fans to see the dates set for the Tour de France.
It all gets underway on August 29th, and already the speculation is building as to who will win the prestigious race. Those betting on cycling on Tour de France will fancy Primoz Roglic or last year’s winner Egan Bernal for the title, but often the winner can come from left field, making the event an incredibly difficult one to predict.
But regardless of who wins the Tour de France, the fact that it is taking place is a boost for sports fans all over the world, and a sign that a return to normality is not too far away. The impact of coronavirus has hit all aspects of life, and while those struggle with the practicalities of lockdown and this new normal, the return of sport offers a welcome release.
And there are few sporting events that offer true escapism like the Tour de France. Until September 20th, viewers can immerse themselves in the scenery and the excitement of the race, and for a while ignore the pervasive news headlines surrounding coronavirus, focusing solely on authentic sporting action.
It’s a summer tradition for many to gather round their TVs and watch the Tour de France, or to simply have it on in the background as they soak up the sun or host their summer barbecues. It’ll be a lift for everyone when the race gets underway – another moment to celebrate the return of sport after its enforced hiatus.
The absence of sport during lockdown has perhaps given us a new appreciation for annual events like the Tour de France – those we take for granted because of their constant presence on our TV screens year after year. Now is the time to be grateful, and to watch the Tour de France with a new perspective and a new appreciation for the joy found in such inimitable sporting occasions.