On 17th October 2017, shortly after the ceremonial final speck of dust was confirmed to have settled on the Tour de France for another year, the route for the 2018 edition was revealed.
You probably heard about it.
You might even have watched it (I hear it was on TV somewhere); though quite what the appeal in watching a room full of really skinny men turn down canapés is, I’m not too sure.
Although the alternative was a sketchy illegal internet feed of the Tour of Guangxi, so…
Every year, I think that the route of Le Tour comes too early. But then the Giro did their big launch back in September, and I guess once the Italians have set their stall out the French are compelled to follow.
Realistically, I suppose, it needs announcing early so that the teams and all the surrounding hullabaloo can get their logistics sorted out. Do you have any idea how many hotel rooms and parking spaces you need for an entire hullaballoo?
I do wonder if the organisers are missing a trick, though.
Just imagine if they kept the whole thing secret and under wraps until a couple of days before the Grand Depart next July. Imagine the excitement, the anticipation, and the frenzy.
If nothing else, imagine the novelty.
Grand Tours are always looking for that extra freak-show element to tempt in the extra eyeballs – whether with cobbles, gravel roads, or a time-trial along the beach.
I may have made that last one up.
Oh wait…no I didn’t, they already tried that at the Vuelta.
I would be more compelled than ever to watch the finest cyclists on the planet race each other by following a series of little arrows at the roadside, with no actual clue where they were heading.
In fact, I may go right ahead and trademark “The Magical Mystery Tour de France” now, just in case.
Even if you think that’s taking things a bit far, they could at least keep the route a secret from the general public.
The teams and riders could be made to sign an oath of secrecy, signed in blood (perhaps from one of those frozen blood bags left over from Operacion Puerto, for added drama?), allowing them to plan as normal
We fans, meanwhile, could spend nine exciting months second-guessing the route.
If the riders want to check out any of the big climbs in advance, of course, they’d have to be careful. If they were spotted it would soon give the game away.
Clearly, they will have to recce the climbs in disguise.
Perhaps they could employ body-doubles, to be deployed elsewhere on some other climb as a diversion.
I myself have already upped my training so that I’m in tip-top shape should the call come from Sir Dave to get out there and pass myself off as Michal Kwiatkowski for a couple of weeks.
I must admit though, if I’m going to pull it off my conversational Polish needs a bit of work.
(Image: via peda&chrz at Flickr CC)