Where to watch the Tour de France TODAY

It’s been seven years since the Tour de France graced British soil. The biggest bike race in the World visited us last in 2007, when London hosted the Grand Depart.

Aside from that, the Tour has only been to Britain on two other occasions – in 1974 and 1994. So you see, it could be some time before Le Tour comes back to us, so we reckon it is worth enjoying every minute of this 2014 visit.

Today, 198 (we hope – well, that’s the number of riders who started on Saturday) will rush through London. The riders will finish on the Mall, having began at Cambridge, whizzed through Essex, sprinted out of Epping Forest and into the capital.

Tour-de-map

Timings can never be exact, but the race is expected to leave Cambridge at 10:15am, arriving in London at around 1:10pm, in Redbridge. By this point, the riders will have covered 119km.  From then, you’ve got 50 minutes to see the race as it makes its way across the city, with an estimated end of 2pm outside Buckingham Palace.

Here’s a look at where and when you could catch the race:

Race locations Caravan Race
Epping Forest (The Sprint) 12:56 14:43
Woodford 13:09 14:55
Walthamstow 13:19 15:04
Leyton 13:25 15:09
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 13:26 15:11
West Ham Lane 13:26 15:11
Tower of London 13:52 15:35
Victoria Embankment 13:52 15:35
Westminster Bridge 13:58 15:40
Houses of Parliament 13:58 15:40
The Mall (The Finish) 14:00 15:42

 

These timings, to us at London Cyclist, seem like the perfect late Lunch Break friendly arrangement, and if your boss is feeling lenient, hopefully you’ll be able to stay out a little longer and enjoy the buzz.

Expect delays

It goes without saying, but do expect town to be busy, and delays are a given. For information on travel disruption, check out the TfL’s dedicated site here.

If you are after a hassle free experience, we recommend finding a pub on the route that is not far from your wok/home. The entire route will be lined with spectators, and the race will always pass by with a whoosh that takes less than a minute, wherever you are – so you are best off finding somewhere you can relax, soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy that one minute with a fighting chance of a good view.

The Caravan

Image: pegsontheline.com/

Image: pegsontheline.com/

The race is preceded by ‘The Caravan’. Don’t be expecting a clapped out VW. Just under 2 hours before the first riders (1hr42, we make it) the Publicity Caravan will come through. The Caravan is a spectacle in itself – expect a procession of vehicles and decorated floats to pass through. If you’re near enough the barrier, be ready –  badges, caps and sweets will be thrown to spectators.

The caravan takes about 40 minutes to pass, and it’s a piece of Tour history, so well worth getting to your race viewing point early to catch a glimpse.

Fan Parks

green-park-3

If you want to soak up the atmosphere with guaranteed dedicated cycling fans, the fan parks at Trafalgar Square and Green might be up your street, and there is also one at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

On Monday, the Trafalgar Square Fan Park will be open from 12pm – 8pm, and the race will be played live on a big screen under Nelsons column. There will of course be plenty of food, entry to the Tour de France museum, and live entertainment.

Once the race reaches it’s crescendo, you’ll be not far from The Mall, so you can get over to watch the finale if you’ve got your elbows ready, or perhaps a pair of stilts to see over the crowds.

At the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, live streaming of the race will take place from 11am – 5pm, at Hopkin’s Field, opposite the Copper Box Arena.

Caution at The Mall

Obviously, the chance to see the bunch sprint hurl itself onto The Mall, perhaps even see our Cav take the win, is a tantalizing opportunity. However, to get close to the barrier, expect to be camping at least overnight. Otherwise, you’ll mainly be enjoying the spectacle, and the atmosphere, but seeing very little of the action itself.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

3 Responses to Where to watch the Tour de France TODAY

  1. iHK 07/07/2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Would it have been so hard to amend this article before publication? You look a bit silly wondering if Cav will win the stage, given he withdrew two days ago!

    • Tom 08/07/2014 at 1:06 pm #

      exactly

  2. Spencer 08/07/2014 at 10:36 pm #

    “we recommend finding a pub on the route that is not far from your wok/home” – but I don’t own a wok???

    Particularly impressed with the road signs along the Canning Town section of the A13 warning of delays due to the Tour. Said signs completely blocked the cycle super highway!

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