Dozens of mass rides planned to celebrate Tour de France 2013
By Sam Dansie | Tuesday, February 19, 2013 2.39pm
Members of the public will have a chance to ride the final stage of the Tour de France 2013 on the Champs Elysees Christophe Ena/AP/Press Association Images
Spectators and riders travelling to the 100th Tour de France will be able to take part in dozens of organised rides unveiled by the race organiser today.
Race organiser ASO said gran fondos and organised rides are being planned in each town “holding a stage” to allow spectators to get a closer experience of the Tour and also contribute to the atmosphere of the world’s biggest race. All the action will take place on Monday 15 July - Fete du Tour day – which coincides with the race’s second rest stop.
Additionally, Nice, where the race will hit the French mainland after the grand départ on the island of Corsica, will host an activity village between June 29 and July 1 where among other events, an amateur time trial will be held.
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In another change to established tradition, the final stage into Paris will be run in the evening to allow another mass participation event, the Tour Gran Fondo, to experience the Champs Elysees beforehand. No details as yet are available about pricing.
Building up to the race, ASO also announced a four-month photo exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Tour will be mounted on the railings of the Palais du Luxembourg, seat of the of the French Senate.
“The Tour de France is as much about celebrations as it is about sport,” ASO said on its website. “Both sides of the coin will be taken to new heights for the 100th edition: the "vintage" title will motivate the star-studded field even more than usual for three weeks of racing, while the crowds following the Tour will be invited to come even closer and enrich it with their colours and spirit, both before and during the race.”
The proliferation of organised events – up from the two perennially over-subscribed l’Etape du Tour sportives – will ensure thousands more spectators and riders have a chance to ride on the same roads as Tour riders such as last year’s winner, Bradley Wiggins and other stars such as Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan.
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