The 108th Edition of the Tour de France Begins this Saturday

Cyclists from around the world will begin the trek around France this Saturday, working towards the finish at the Champs-Élysées in Paris. (Cycling Times/Pete Goding)

After the 2020 Tour de France took place a bit later than usual, the 2021 edition of the famous cycling race will take place as scheduled. The race begins this Saturday in the western regions of France, and over the month that follows, riders will travel through the hills and valleys in France.

Outside of COVID-19, the dominating story of the race came up just recently, as historic TDF sprinter Mark Cavendish of Great Britain was announced as a member of Team Deceuninck-Quick-Step after Irishman Sam Bennett was ruled out with a right knee injury. The 30-year old Bennett shocked the world in 2020 by unexpectedly beating out sprinter Peter Sagan for the Green Jersey in the tour; a category Sagan had owned for the better part of the last decade.

Cavendish, just six years Bennett’s senior, hasn’t competed in the French Grand Tour since 2018. Nevertheless, he has 30 stage victories, second all-time to Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx with 34 wins. The Olympic silver medalist might not have but one or two wins left in him; however, he should likely be focusing on the big shoes he has to fill on his own team.

The COVID-19 adjustments to the race will likely be looser than 2020, but since this race invites international spectators and athletes, there will likely be some fan safety guidelines. The official tour website lacks spectator information; fans should expect that there will be a different experience than the pre-Coronavirus races.

The Tour de France can be viewed in the United States via NBC’s Peacock streaming service or on NBC Sports beginning Saturday, June 26th and ending Sunday, July 18th.

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