The Tour de France Starts Today. Here’s the Case For Getting Extremely Into It


Just as Drive to Survive created many genuine F1 fans, the next step after binging Unchained is watching this year’s race, which is streaming on NBC Sports and Peacock. The evening before his team took to the start line for the race’s first stage, GQ got on the phone with Vaughters to discuss the Netflix show, how racing has changed since the Lance Armstrong era, and why the Tour de France is the perfect event for the work-from-home era.  

GQ***:*** At least for the US audience, the Netflix series is reintroducing cycling to a lot of people who probably haven’t thought about it since the Lance Armstrong years, and that’s sort of your role in the first episode. You’re the one who’s like: “Here’s a picture of me and Lance.”

That’s for sure. The producers and directors of the series wanted me to close the chapter on the Lance Era and open a new chapter—basically saying, “Hey, you know, this is what happened. And it wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, but it happened, and it’s over.” 

You know, Lance has not been any part of the sport for over a decade. I know he’s got his podcast and whatever, but he does not have any idea what is actually going on inside the peloton these days. He has no knowledge of how racing has progressed. And so that chapter is closed, it’s over, it’s done—it’s long since been done.

So let’s talk about this era and this year’s race. The first stage is usually a time trial or a flat stage with little bearing on the final results. I’m no expert, but looking at it, it seems like it’s gonna be an unusually exciting and punchy day of racing. 

Without a doubt. I mean, listen, the Tour is always intense from day one. A lot of times people think, Oh, it’s a flat sprinter stage and nothing really happens. Well, let me tell you, a lot happens even on flat stages—the Tour is just tense. There are always more crashes than in any other race. We’ve got one new rider, James Shaw, who has never done the Tour de France, and he’s obviously a little bit nervous. I just told him, This is like any other race in the world all year long. It’s the same thing. It’s the same riders. The only difference is, is in this race, no one uses their brakes.

So you get a stage like tomorrow where it’s small roads [and] it’s hilly? It’s going to have an effect on the overall race. I don’t know if anyone’s going to win the Tour de France tomorrow, but there are definitely going to be some losers, without a doubt. The race tomorrow’s is going to be dangerous. There are going to be some people knocked out of contention, whether that’s physically or whether they’re going to be literally knocked onto the road.

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The Tour de France Starts Today. Here’s the Case For Getting Extremely Into It

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