(ATR) The rescheduled 107th edition of the Tour de France is primed to open on the streets of Nice on August 29. It will mark the first time that the epic, three-week cycling stage race is not contested in July since World War II.
Joel Felicio (center) producing the Tour de France from the broadcast truck. (NBC Sports)
COVID-19 forced postponement of the event and considering restrictive safety measures and health concerns, no one knows what lies around the bend.
“The Tour is always like ‘you don’t know what to expect’ but this is times ten, on epic proportions this year, it’s crazy,” NBC Sports’ Tour de France coordinating producer Joel Felicio tells ATR’s Brian Pinelli in the latest edition of ATRadio.
“That’s the theme on so many aspects of this year’s Tour, from actually how the race is going to turn out to how it is being produced,” Felicio said.
Twenty-two teams and 176 riders will navigate French roads, cruise through idyllic countryside and ascend punishing mountain climbs, all culminating on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, as usual. Tour de France organizers have insisted that the race proceed with fans, though with limitations including at the start and finish lines.
“How do you stop people from standing on the sides of the roads, there’s miles and miles of roads, that’s impossible,” Felicio ponders.
“On the climbs, they won’t be allowing the camper vans to drive up and I’m not sure 100% if its every climb or just some of them, but that will limit the fans in the mountains.
“But if I know the fans in France, they’ll do whatever it takes to get up there, so there will be a presence."
Homepage photo: Tour de France