With cameramen on motorbikes and TV crews shooting from helicopters in the sky, you are treated to different visual angles of the cyclists rolling through a varied French countryside.

A good commentary team on board can share a wealth of background information on the various chateaux, regional foods, and even something insightful about the cycling itself.

For real atmosphere though, it’s a great experience to get out on the road for a stage or two; especially after you’ve seen a few tours on the screen.

Where to See The Riders For Real

If you’re using public transport, the departure and arrival points are often the easiest places to get to and there’s always a party atmosphere when ‘Le Tour’ comes to town.

If it’s photographs of the cyclists you’re after, then it’s better to stake out a place on the route itself.

This needs thinking about too; or you could find yourself waiting for hours, only for the peloton to pass you by in seconds.

Riders slow down at feeding stations and tend to go slower on the steeper inclines. If you’re fortunate, you might even be lucky enough to have a bidon (water bottle) discarded in front of you; as we did, just after the Delle feeding station in 2009.

More info: 1800-france.com

Lance Armstrong – Verbier 2009

Andreas Klöden and Lance Armstrong of Astana work together to get up to Verbier; finishing 8th and 9th at the end of Stage 15 of the 2009 Tour de France.

Source: pics.travelnotes.org

Verbier – Tour de France 2009

Cycling fans making their way up towards Verbier (Switzerland) for the final climb of Stage 15 in the 2009 Tour de France race.

Source: pics.travelnotes.org

Alberto Contador in Astana Colours on the Final Climb to Verbier

Alberto Contador of Astana leading the way during the final climb to Verbier on Stage 15 of the Tour de France in 2009.

Source: tnot.es

Andy Schleck in Verbier

Andy Schleck (LUX) riding for Saxo Bank comes home second at Verbier, Switzerland in Stage 15 of the 2009 Tour de France.

Source: pics.travelnotes.org

Bradley Wiggins Fights For 5th in Verbier

Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) competes with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) on the uphill approach to Verbier in Stage 15 of the 2009 Tour de France.

Source: photos.travelnotes.org

Astana Team With Lance Armstrong

Astana Team With Lance Armstrong coming out of the feeding station at Delle during Stage 14 – Colmar to Besancon – of the 2009 Tour de France.

Source: tnot.es

And The One You’ve All Been Waiting For…. An Astana Water Bottle For Yours Truly

Source: www.travelnotes.org