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Tour de France: Cycling aside, just look at the view

Tour de France is in the midst of its 103rd edition. The pinnacle of cycling prowess comes around once a year, during the month of June, as cyclists race through the French Alps and more competing against one another as they finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

As a sports fan, I generally keep an eye on the major sporting events of the year. The Tour de France, being the most prestigious, piques my interest, but not for the obvious reason.

I\'ve come to the conclusion that except for the riders and team managers themselves, no one at the Tour cares about who crosses the line first. Completed over 21 days, with two rest days in the middle, and covering approximately 3,500 kilometres, the Tour de France is all about the surroundings.

It\'s more about the stunning display, the gorgeous scenery and the exquisite weather than the sport as a sport.

Year after year, I long to be in France, to be there during the Tour de France and to stand on the sidelines, waiting for hours for a couple of cyclists to whiz past as I snack on a couple of sandwiches. Le Tour isn\'t immune to crazy spectators - this year Chris Froome punched a man who was running too close during the hill climb - and also has its fair share of accidents. That aside, just putting it on in the background, is the perfect way to enjoy an evening.

As Deadspin recently wrote, "The Tour de France, which starts this weekend at Mont Saint-Michel, accounts for over 80 percent of the annual TV exposure for teams involved, and it\'s the only race that Americans really watch (if only for the scenery)". I wholeheartedly agree. Ask any sports nut and they\'d be hard pressed to name more than a couple of cyclists - Lance Armstrong is one of the only names that comes to mind. And that has nothing to do with the Tour.

This year, there is one more reason to watch the race. To see how real a thing this motorized doping is.

Motorised doping or not, a post without stunning images from Tour de France is a futile post.

Here is a selection of some of the best photos that contrast the riders with the scenery in the background. I\'d imagine, and I hope, that these cyclists at least get a look or two at where they are cycling. Otherwise, it\'d just be a race.

Photo curation: Priyata Brajabasi

 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.