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As the world’s greatest cycle race begins, just how environmentally friendly is it?

This July, over 1 billion people will watch the Tour de France, which started on Friday in Copenhagen, Denmark, and will end with the final stage at the Champs-Élysées, Paris on 24 July.

It is safe to say that it is regarded as the most iconic event in the whole of cycling and the world of sport.

Viewers from all around the world from every different background will be tuning into the Tour de France for over three weeks. The yellow jersey is the famous winner’s jersey. So just how clean (or green) is the yellow jersey?

My life mainly revolves around sport and is a huge part of my spare time.

For me cycling is my main sport and is a wonderful way to experience the world from a new greener way of transport.

The Tour de France is one of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and is one of the most prestigious races of them all. 

176 riders from the 22 teams riding down the Champs-Élysées is one of the most amazing sights in cycling and the world.

However, is the biggest bike race in the world eco-friendly and is it helping the planet?

I am on work experience at Mitsubishi Electric Europe. My name is Austin Holland and my task this week is to write a blog post about this amazing cycle ride, and how we can all become more eco-friendly.

The background

A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes to run a race that is this large.

There are over 44 support vehicles that mean that if there is a problem for the rider, they can get help.

Furthermore, there are 30 motorcycles which are for the TV audience at home so they can view the race.

To help the riders get from hotel to hotel there are 22 team. As you can see this is a huge number of vehicles.

Before 2020 the cars were not electric and were all internal combustion. This means they were using fossil fuels adding to the green-house effect.

However, now Skoda have worked with the tour to roll out their Skoda Enyaq iV. This is their electric line car and demonstrates that the tour is committed to changing their carbon footprint on the world.

What about the audience?

However, the tour brings in over 15 million spectators from all around the world. Are their transports green?

In the UK alone only around 2-3 percent of vehicles are currently electric. We can assume that most people watching the tour are driving in non-electric car. This is for several reasons, one of which is the huge cost of these vehicles compared to their fossil fuel cousins.

So, how can we make the race cleaner?

Well one way is to try and make electric cars more accessible to the average consumer.

An electric car can be up to 81 percent more expensive than a normal car. This as we can see is an eye watering figure. One way to drop the cost of electric vehicles is to recycle the batteries as much as possible. Another way is to introduce standardisation of components, however for that we need all companies to comply.

There are benefits too

Before you think that I am arguing against a sport I love, it is worth noting that, over the years, the Tour de France has encouraged millions of people (including me) to get on a bicycle, which is not only more healthy for them, but also better for the environment.

The overwhelming benefit of this cannot be understated in my view and, although there is more that can be done to make the race more environmentally friendlier, less people would be cycling today if they hadn’t been inspired by this iconic sporting event.

And, as we can see Skoda has made a start to make the yellow jersey cleaner and greener.

Now what we need is not only for the teams but for the spectators to have access to affordable electric vehicles.

If we can do this, then we can make the Tour de France a truly eco-friendly race and promote a cleaner future for all.

Austin Holland has been on work experience at Mitsubishi Electric