Is there any sport more brutal, more primal and more laced with dirty tricks, nasty tactics and odd gentlemanly twists than the Tour de France? The world's biggest annual sporting event (no one outside America and Canada cares about the Super Bowl), Le Tour is old-fashioned sport at its most basic.
Wind-tunnel research and lighter-than-air bikes have made the haul easier, and Machiavellian team tactics, casual bumps and arcane, unspoken rules about fair competition add daily drama, but at the end of the day this is a sport where the basic aim is to ride from one place to another. No wonder tens of millions of people go cycle-mad during the month of July.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France. The Web is predictably jammed with chatter from amateur cyclists on everything from Lance Armstrong's five-in-a-row quest to conspiracy theories about the nasty stage-one crash that saw much of the peloton thrown to the ground.
For the Tour addict, it's a great place to catch up on the daily gossip. Newbies can log on and learn why amateur cyclists are riding around town at ridiculous speeds for the next month or so, muttering to themselves about mountain stages, time trials and Jan Ullrich.
The official site. Very comprehensive, although the English site is hosted by the American broadcaster, which inevitably leads to a U.S. bias. Includes day-by-day updates, interviews with the competitors and a ridiculously detailed map of the route.
The broadcaster of Le Tour. Take the day off and watch the action live, or tune into the tape delay later on in the evening.
The primer on the Tour de France,
The BBC can always be counted on to go over the top with its coverage. Includes tips on tactics, a bike maintenance guide and a fashion preview of "who wears what" at Le Tour.
Check in as our man shoots for five in a row. Goes beyond the usual sponsor-laden hype of typical "official" sites, with insightful looks into the race itself, live coverage and more.
Home of Michael Barry, Toronto-born cyclist and Lance Armstrong's teammate in U.S. Postal Service.
Obsessive coverage by fellow road racers.
Predict the stage winners and overall champion of the Tour with this online game.
After watching a month's worth of Tour coverage, cyclists often hit their bikes with a vengeance. Complete your own Tour of Canada after checking this site's massive list of upcoming rides.
Check out some of the best road racers in the flesh when they come to Hamilton this fall for the 2003 World Cycling Championships.
The only soundtrack.