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Bordeaux-Paris or TdF?(13 posts)

Bordeaux-Paris or TdF?cyclopathic
Jan 26, 2004 2:44 PM
if you had a choice btw riding Bordeaux-Paris and doing Etape du Tour/catching a couple stages of TdF, what would you choose?
re: Bordeaux-Paris or TdF?philippec
Jan 26, 2004 2:49 PM
I've done both... the Etape and the TDF win hands down!

Are you thinking of doing the Etape this year ... if so, are you thinking of doing it on your own (w/out a tour group)? If so, get cracking -- the registration usually fills up in the first few days (it starts at the end of the month)!!

did you do BPcyclopathic
Jan 26, 2004 3:03 PM
as cyclotourist, randonneur or cyclo-sportive?
why I would do the Etape...philippec
Jan 27, 2004 1:29 AM
I did BP as a cyclosportif.

Let me gove you a little more justification for my choice. I assume you are a pretty fit rider and possibly interested in bike racing (at least as a spectator). BP is a great (and tough) ride. It has a lot of history (remember Anquetil's back-to-back victory?) but now is a bit removed from its racing roots. Really, it is a bit like a century on steroids (oops, well, on ginsing tablets at least). The countryside is nice, the villages are welcoming, etc.. but it is just a rather longish bike ride -- which is fine. BP est comme un long fleuve tranquille (like a long slow river... or maybe like RAGBRAI minus the beer and on fast forward).

The Etape du Tour, on the other hand, is !electric!. Here you have all the excitement of riding the exact same stage route as the pros, in the exact same conditions (Mavic support cars/motos, gendarme escorts, thousands of screaming fans, full and complete road closure -- for 230 fricking kilometres!, and a chance to ride in some of the nicest scenery that France's central mountain range has to offer. And then, just a few days later, you can see the pros go by and understand, and I mean really understand, what it must be like for them. Add the atmosphre of the Village Départ, the bike expo and the roar of the crowd as you come charging under the flame rouge and you have got yourself a memory that will be seared into your brain for the rest of your living days.

As far as watching the Tour, it really is not that difficult to organise yourself so that you can ride in the AM, catch the riders as they go by somewhere on the course and find a café/camping car w/ live TV coverage to watch the finish. Even on the Alpe d'Huez (there are some "trade secrets" for watching this stage w/out the hassles that Mohair describes). Ask TeoTeoTeo for his guide, he's got the routine down in there. And this year's Tour might be the historic first time a winner makes it to top of the podium 6 times -- and you will have been there....

Hope that helps...

gee.. tough choice!cyclopathic
Jan 27, 2004 4:59 AM
I hear you, and if I've done both I'd probably be of the same opinion. Problem is Bordeaux-Paris runs every 2 years, so next chance will be in 2006, 2 years to wait. And BP holds sentimental value for me, after all it is the first pro cycling race. I've done PBP last year, and it was fun to see how dedicated Bretons are to cycling. You could come through the little towns 2 o'clock in the morning and streets would be full of people cheering you up. I've seen improvised slipping accommodations set up in cafes, shop owners kept shops open through the night.

I wish I could do both, but it is out of question. Now I have to choose.
Jan 26, 2004 2:58 PM
It depends on what stages you can see and where you can get to. Watching the Tour on a mountain like Alpe d'Huez where there's only one road to get there can be quite a hassle. And considering that they battled the whole way up the climb in 2003, if you were there, you missed most of the action. I was supposed to be there but got caught up in a massive traffic jam, so we watched it in a cafe in a town called Uriage-les-bains.

For most other stages you won't have the same kind of hassle to deal with. I saw some other stages that were very easy to get to. I think it is wonderful to be there and soak up the atmosphere, but it is a lot of work and a lot of waiting around, and you miss most of the race.

If I were you, I'd do Bordeaux-Paris and arrange your day so you can watch the race live. They usually schedule the races to end around 4pm every day, so ride until 1 or 2 pm, then find a cafe and watch the last two hours of the race, just like you would here on OLN. That would be a great vacation. One thing I noticed when I was there is that they don't rerun the race like OLN does, so if you miss it live, all you'll get are highlights later.

Etape could be a lot of fun. Why not do it AND bordeaux-paris?
Jan 27, 2004 5:13 AM
why not both? Bordeaux-Paris is June 18-20 and L'Etape du Tour July 11, 3 weeks apart. Would have been nice if I could get away for 4 weeks and ride Alps in between. And no I don't worry about missing coverage, I have TiVo.
re: Bordeaux-Paris or TdF?LeadvilleBlues
Jan 26, 2004 3:53 PM
I'd Take Philippe's advice, I was in France and registered for last years Etape, and passed on the chance. Something I'll be regreting for the rest of my cycling days. Do It ! then come back and tell us all about it.
Alohas from Maui,
re: Bordeaux-Paris or TdF?Cat 3 boy
Jan 27, 2004 7:48 AM
You'd better get on the Etape website quick, it says registrations open on 29th Jan!

Me & 4 mates are heading to Limoges this July, got accomodation booked at both ends & wives are coming as podium babes/support ;-)

I think it's gonna prove difficult to get anywhere to stay near St Flour, I was there on hols a few years ago & it's not a big town!

PS the last 2 miles up to St Flour will cripple you after 140 miles!!

Bordeaux-Paris ~ 27hours of fun, watching the TdF = 3min of funPeterRider
Jan 26, 2004 10:52 PM
This is based on a 600km trip Bordeaux-Paris and a reasonable 9hours/200km. The '3 minutes' is probably an overestimate :-)

I saw the Tour 3 times when I was a kid, twice because my hometown was the end of a stage, and once by coincidence when we were on the roads to go on holidays. Found it very disappointing, they pass by way too fast, you see it much better on TV...

Bordeaux-Paris ~ 27hours of fun, watching the TdF = 3min of funcyclopathic
Jan 27, 2004 5:01 AM
Hey Pierre, are you be doing BP this year? next chance is in 2006 ;)
oh, it's an organized ride ? I hadn't understood !PeterRider
Jan 27, 2004 11:11 AM
have to check on this one. This year I want to do the brevets and hopefully BMB if I'm in good shape. What about you, brevets / Bordeaux-Paris / BMB ?

oh, it's an organized ride ? oh yes!cyclopathic
Jan 27, 2004 7:45 PM
here's the link (something tells me you don't need translation, this is for others )

I am not quite sure, I'll definitely do brevets (probably a few 200/300 and a couple 600k) and BMB. Some of my friends are doing SVS, Sofia-Varna-Sofia, but I'll have to pass on it. Maybe I'll do 1000km as training for BMB. Bordeaux-Paris sounds interesting, really interesting.