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I am sitting in the sun-filled lounge while my grandson takes his morning nap, watching one of my favourite sporting events – Le Tour de France. I cannot adequately describe how much I love watching this event as it takes me on an armchair ride through my favourite country (after New zealand of course). The coverage is superb if you are a Francophile, with sweeping panoramic views of the French countryside, courtesy of the helicopter camera crew, and a brilliant commentary provided by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, who always give an amazing historical background to all the regions and towns through which the Tour passes. At the moment, the stage is riding through my favourite region in France – Provence, en route from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille, while yesterday I returned (with the cyclists) to beautiful Nice. We intend to visit Marseille on our 2014 French trip so I am keen to see the riders arriving in that city.

As a casual cyclist I so enjoy the event as a sporting spectacle – it is intense, competitive, spectacular, colourful, picturesque, and the camera work covering the riders on the road is brilliant. As I write, there has been a crash, with many riders tumbling like dominoes. Luckily, most have been able to quickly resume their ride.

I was lucky enough to be in France during the 2007 Tour and I really got caught up in it, so I have watched avidly ever since. Right now I am enjoying my armchair ride into Marseille- a bientot!

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For a great insight into how Sherwen and Liggett prepare for the Tour see here