The Tour de France, which kicks off on July 7, is one of the world’s greatest sporting events to watch live while drinking. As you wait for the peleton to come by, it is an all day party in a picturesque French setting where the only rule is stay out of the road. As a spectator sport on TV though, the Tour is undeniably odd. It involves broadcasts that max out somewhere between five and six hours, which alternate between shots of the bucolic French countryside and a line rail thin men pedaling $10,000 bikes while acting as moving advertisements for a number of successful companies you have never heard of. It also happens to be called by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, who may be the greatest announcing duo in sports. People who have watched it with me have commented on more than one occasion, “nothing ever happens.” This is, of course, not true, but compared to basketball or football, the action moves at more of a geologic pace. So it would be understandable if you wanted to add a drinking component to make the world’s greatest bike race more widely accessible.
Pour some red wine and some Cognac, here’s the Tour de France Drinking Game. Remember, if you’re watching in the U.S., these stages go off at 5 a.m., so plan your days accordingly.
Take a sip:
Every five kilometers.
Every time someone notes how much pain, agony or hurt the riders are going through.
Every time someone says the words “yellow jersey.”
Every time the British announcers pronounce a French word better than you can.
Whenever there is a shot of something that has nothing to do with the bike race.
When you see riders paling around, making a 100 mile bike ride look easy.
Take a long swig:
Whenever there is a “natural break” (for the uninformed, that’s a pee stop—seven hours on a bike takes its toll).
Whenever the announcers regale the audience with French history facts.
If Phil and Paul mock each other for being old and out of shape (you gotta fill that airtime somehow).
When you see someone riding with a torn jersey and road rash.
At every intermediate sprint point.
If you see someone’s bike break down.
If a fan runs alongside the riders.
Take a shot:
If there is a crash.
If the riders pass through a place you have been before.
Finish your drink:
When the peleton catches a break away.