I don't really remember when I bought Tour de Force, but I came across the DVD recently (in a stack in my house) and of course July seemed the perfect time to watch it, and so I put the disc in the player on Day 4 of the 2018 Tour. I wasn't planning to watch the whole thing but I enjoyed it so much that I missed the start of the Stage that night!
The start of the movie is a bit hokey, with a bit of trouble setting up amateur cyclist Francois' motivation to take on cycling the Tour -doing each stage the day before the actual cyclists. I believe lots of people do that, at least a stage or two for mere mortals, and certainly lots of amateur cyclists will take on the more famous tour climbs like the Col de Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux and Alpe d'huez. And in an amazing life imitates art there's an amazing group of amateur women cyclists (Donnons des elles au vélo) doing the full tour to push for a Women's Tour. They do it tough, the roads aren't closed for them.
We respect the traffic signs. We stop at red lights. We respect the rules,” Kalachova says.Actually they're pushing for the return of the Tour de France Feminin which ran alongside the men's event from 1984-89, it has a fascinating history. I have enjoyed La Course (a women's race on the final day) the last few years, but it's a hard nights viewing. The Australian telecast of the iconic final day of the Tour starts tonight at 2330 and goes til 0400. A hard gig when you're working this evening, doing the school run in the morning, and working tomorrow evening. But I'll be on the couch for part of it and will wistfully think back on 2013 when I stood on the Rue du Rivoli for the final stage.
Oh wait I'm supposed to be talking about La Grand Boucle... If I hadn't put in the hard yards on the couch over many cold July nights then I don't think I could have enjoyed it like I did. I understand the brigades of mad fans, the rituals and rhythms of the Tour, even the camera angles, classic shots. The Dutch jokes. I can't imagine being able to enjoy it quite so much if you weren't a cycling fan, or at least a Tour fan. There's a lot of in jokes. But it's a nice feel good movie. I'll certainly watch it again, next July, or perhaps even once more this July if I can sneak it in.