The winner of the Tour De France has long been decided by the time the man with the yellow jersey pedals across the finish line at the Champs-Élysées in Paris. To see the winner take the lead would seem like a relatively impossible feat. There are, after all, 21 days of cycling across approximately 3,500 kilometers. So how could you possibly plan your trip to France just right to see the eventual winner take the lead? Where would you even go?
Well, for 2017, we think we have a pretty solid guess for where and when you’d want to go: Dijon on July 7th through the 8th.
Here’s our logic. Looking at the past five Tour De France races, the eventual winner took the lead at the end of the 7th or 8th stage. The only exception is in 2014 when Vincenzo Nibali, who led the 2nd through the 8th, briefly lost the lead only to regain it in the 10th and never look back.
This year the 7th stage finishes in Nuits-Saint-Georges and the 8th stage finishes in Station des Rousses. The latter is in the middle of a regional natural park on the Swiss border. Naturally finding lodging there would be a bit difficult, so your efforts and bets are best placed on seeing the finish of the 7th stage in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Then again, as of now, trivago shows only eight hotels with availability within a three-mile radius of the town center. When you go up north a bit to Dijon, that number bumps up to 38 hotels. Plus you’d be toward the end of the stage if you wanted to catch the riders en route as opposed to crossing the finish.
Should you want to leave Dijon and head to Nuits-Saint-Georges for the day, SNCF (French Railways) runs a train between the two cities once every four hours and the journey takes just 17 minutes. Then back in Dijon, you’re just a 28-minute train ride away from Dole, where the 8th stage kicks off.
Now let’s look at the costs. If you’re reading this far, you probably already have your flight to France. So, a night in Dijon will cost you approximately $159 on July 7th. If you’re staying the extra night to catch the start in Dole the next day, that’ll be around $122 on the 8th. Then it’ll be about $62 for the high-speed train between Paris and Dijon, according to Rome2rio. Then another $14 for the train from Dijon to Nuits-Saint-Georges. Add that up and math says you could see the winner of the 2017 Tour De France for around $1,100 to $1,250–including the price of your plane ticket, of course. (No need for food. Just satiate yourself with Dijon mustard and Burgundy wine.)
There you have it. How’s that for a reasonably educated guess on where to see the eventual 2017 Tour De France take the lead and how much it’ll cost? You’re welcome.
You might also be a normal person who can’t travel across the world for Le Tour. Instead, find a bike-friendly town nearby and celebrate your ride with a cool craft beer.