Traveling with the Polka Dots

SCENES FROM THE TOUR

THIS PHOTO ESSAY PAINTS A PICTURE OF THE SCENES FOUND ALONG THE RACE ROUTE BEFORE AND AFTER THE PASSING OF THE PELOTON DURING THE 2016 TOUR DE FRANCE. THE POINT OF FOCUSING ON THESE ROADWAY SCENES WAS TO LOOK AT THE NUANCES THAT PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN BUILDING THE LAYERS OF A COMPLEX SPORT.

While the collective memories and moments in most sports are largely defined by the athletes and what happens on a limiting field, the Tour de France is one of the only sports whose sidelines and landscapes play just as much a role in the experience as the Peloton does. For its 103rd year, the landscape of the 2016 Tour de France was dotted by a sense of pride and amusement as spectators, travelers, residents and visitors alike lined the city and country roads that made up the 2,193 mile course. Beginning in Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy and concluding as it does every year on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, a total of 198 riders from 35 countries powered their way through countrysides, cities, mountain passes, and years of controversy that have scarred the sport. While stage battles of Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan were often the 10 second highlights after a long day of riding, or the constant talk of tour favorites Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and eventual winner Chris Froome filled the broadcasts, there was much more happening throughout France that contributed to the sport.