Cycling: A Sport for Geographers

January 13, 2019 • #

The UCI World Tour season kicks off this week with the Tour Down Under.

I started following pro cycling closely about 5 years ago, but since it’s fairly hard to get access to on broadcasts, I only get to watch a handful of events each year. With the NBC Cycling Pass you get some big events, like the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, plus some other fun ones in the spring like Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Last season while watching the Criterium du Dauphiné, it dawned on me one of the reasons I got into watching televised cycling tours so easily: it’s a great sport for a geographer. The sweeping views over the Massif Central, Pyrenees, or the rivers of the Alps are incredible. While I’m watching a stage and the peloton is passing through villages or past medieval landmarks, I’ll be on Wikipedia checking out the history of the places they’re racing.

With some top cyclist team moves in the off season, there are a few big things to watch. I’ll try and catch what I can of the Tour Down Under and get a preview. Never was able to watch that one before.