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My buddy and I want to do a TDF tour in 2007 where you get to ride sections the day before/after the race goes through. There seem to be a lot of companies offering these. Any one out there with any recommendations / thoughts on how to choose?
 

· I heart team Zissou!
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tamrider said:
My buddy and I want to do a TDF tour in 2007 where you get to ride sections the day before/after the race goes through. There seem to be a lot of companies offering these. Any one out there with any recommendations / thoughts on how to choose?
It really isn't too difficult to do what you are looking after on your own ... and usually much less expensive. I've been going this route since for ever... but I live over here in France. For visitors, one of our own has written an excellent guide to self-guided touring the Tour that I highly recommend: http://www.velotainment.com/

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Philippe
 

· N. Hollywood, CA
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GB is a middle of the road option

In 2003 we followed the Tour through the Alps with Graham Baxter Cycling Tours out of the UK. We stayed at decent hotels, which to me means that there's a clean bed and bathroom, and not much noise. I don't notice much else, and am not picky. We had some nice meals at the smaller hotels/inns. If you're serious about seeing the tour every day, and riding your bike on the route, then you won't have much time to sit around and critique the hotels!

Our guide/leader was great - a real enthusiast. The bus driver was knowledgeable of French highway routes, but a bit of a hassle when it came to waiting around for us all at the end of a long day. He would threaten to leave even if someone hadn't returned.

Be sure that you want to CYCLE, or clarify with the tour operator if you don't. On our bus there were two who didn't cycle at all - they just got off in town and waited all day to see the tour pass. But GB basically drops you off in the morning and picks you up at night. The day plan is up to you (given map and advice) - and for us that was perfect. We were usually given a couple route options with maps. Pace, diversions, lunch, and exploration were up to us.

We saw other tours where participants were coddled by small vans that accompanied them every mile - like a support car. Roadside picnics, mechanical assistance, guides hanging out of the passenger window shouting encouragement on uphills, etc. You might not need all that - although I wonder if those high dollar tours have better access to the restricted areas where the teams warm up every morning...
 
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