With Switzerland, France, Italy and now England out of the World Cup many of us can at least turn our attention to other great sporting events. (Good luck Holland - 1-0 up against Slovakia at half time as I write!)
This year's Tour de France kicks off in Rotterdam on Saturday 3rd July and over three weeks will cover 3 643 km, including 6 mountain stages and 3 summit finishes.
The first high mountain stage takes place on July 11th and takes in 189km, starting from the Station des Rousses, in the Jura north of Geneva, to the finish line at high altitude Avoriaz. The final sprint will be the tortuous road that winds up to the resort from Morzine.
Monday 12th July is the first of just two rest days for the riders. Tuesday 13th July is another gruelling high mountain stage starting out from Morzine and heading to St Jean de Maurienne.
The Tour reaches the Pyrenees on July 18th where start and end stages include Ax 3 Domaines and Bagneres-de-Luchon. (See full details of the itinerary)
Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky
British hopes can focus on Bradley Wiggins and his new Team Sky - the first British Team to compete in the Tour for 23 years. Wiggins surprised everybody by coming 4th in last year's event, displaced from the podium by a returning Lance Armstrong.
For this year's Tour he has been single-minded in his training and fitness regime - and has once again reached a target weight of 73kg, the weight that enabled him to perform well in the mountain stages last year. Leading the "Sky Train" to a podium place is not beyond the realms of possibility and in a recent interview Wiggins was quietly confident, saying that he was "in the ballpark" to win it.
A Fantastic Spectacle
Whatever happens the Tour de France is an amazing spectacle and is followed with almost religious fervour. The stage towns on the route consider it an enormous privilege to be accepted as a starting or finishing venue, and pay a considerable price for it.The massive influx of visitors and business that accompanies the Tour circus more than compensates for the months of planning and preparation required.
The atmosphere on the route is electric - with fans coming from all over world to support their riders. Despite controversy over drugs and doping, you can't help but be caught up in the atmosphere when the Tour comes riding through. For the small towns and villages along the way it feels like a holiday and a great reason for celebration no matter who is first across the finish line.
So if you're lucky enough to be in the Alps or Pyrenees when the Tour is rolling through take the time to watch and enjoy it. It is widely acknowledged as the biggest cycling event of the year and the one that really matters!
If you're looking for a place to stay in Morzine or any of the other mountain venues why not try the Summer Solutions room.