Yes, it's time for another year of helicopter shots, crazy motorcycle near-misses and weird French love messages whitewashed on the road. Michel lovehearts Francoise. Lance Armstrong takes EPO. That type of thing.
I had to pause this year in honour of the annual drug allegations and remind myself one more time why I love the Tour de France so much. Despite all le dopage, as they call it on French TV. (This year I actually finally paid the £370 and got the french man round to install french tv so that i can watch the Tour in frenchie. That's how much I love le cyclisme.)
In my case, the fact is I absolutely love France, and the very eccentric view you get of that great country when you view it entirely from above during a bicycle race. Especially when you are in the company of sports commentators who have copious notes. The oldest thatched church in France is about to come into view! Hurray!
The Tour de France is a curious sporting event, because it takes world class riders and sends them through ordinary, everyday lives. Hundreds of people line the streets in each village as the cyclists come through. And there are their houses! The little vegetable gardens! The swimming pools! It's a sort of aerial record of France's commitment to the good life. And here are these incredibly professional finely-tuned athletes on these incredibly expensive finely tuned bikes and we're just going to make them cycle over... some cobbles!!
Brilliant, 100% brilliant, and you'll never make me think otherwise. And I haven't even mentioned the sport.