Since there are probably some new readers coming by in anticipation of the Tour, here's what you can expect to see starting with the London Prologue. On a daily basis, we will have stage previews, a live thread for running commentary (open to all) during the race, some sort of recap or roundup of the day's events, and a daily tally of the Podium Cafe Virtual Directeur Sportif contest, which serves as a host for related smack-talk. Most days there will be a Musette du Jour, a/k/a the Feedbag, with news odds and ends, and links. And that's just the recurring stuff. Weekends tend to be a bit lighter -- even during the Tour, I like to keep in touch with my family.
Like any Scoop-driven site, this is a community first and foremost, and I urge people to write diaries to contribute anything you think of. Memories of the Tour? Analysis of the stage? Critique of a rider? Previews of a team? There are no rules against your writing something that I would've gotten to myself, and if I see someone has covered something first, I'll gladly stand down and promote your post instead.
If you're heading to France for the Tour, we would love to hear your first-hand accounts. Everyone here may know the result, but it's the on-scene stuff that can really bring the race to life, be it through descriptions of the action, or the scene by the roadside, or the experience of rubbing elbows with the race. For a good example, check out Tifosa's Giro diaries (link fixed!) which were such a treat here last month.
The Tour is like nothing else for various reasons, but my favorite one is that this is the one bike race the world comes together to watch. More than any other race, it's the Tour which prompts memories of the sport, which draws fans of all stripes to remote hillsides, which people gather around TV screens to watch. In Seattle, it's the Tour that gets broadcast in bars around town and on a makeshift theater screen in a public park. Here at the Podium Cafe, we want to capture as much of this worldwide, three-week celebration of Cycling as we can, and I look forward to all your input.