Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tour De France Fans Need to Stay Off the Course

This year is the 100th Tour de France, the biggest cycling event in the country.  As the annual event unfolds over several days over the hilly terrain, I occasionally tune in to watch a few of the stages. 

One thing that bothers me about the race is the fans who are allowed to run out on the course while the race is going on.  It's the only sport I know of where fans are allowed to walk right up to the athletes while they are performing.

Where the bicyclists are the most vulnerable is when they are climbing hills.  They may only be going 5 to 10 mph.   Spectators will run with the bicyclists often reaching out to touch them. Sometimes they'll even get out front ahead of the bicyclists.  If a fan trips while running ahead of the bicyclists (which is not unlikely given he's generally looking behind him rather than where he is going), several riders could end up on the ground.  Virtually every Tour de France has fans on the course who have caused bicyclists to crash.

I know security must be a terribly difficult thing given that this year's Tour de France covers 21 different stages and a stage might be 160 kilometers (100 miles) for example.  That's a lot of ground to cover.  But there are certain parts of the course that naturally draw hordes of fans that could be better policed.  Instead it's accepted as part of the race that lunatics can run out on the course and interfere with the riders.

Tour de France fans need to keep their crazy antics to the sidelines and let the athletes perform.

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