When do the riders take bathroom breaks during the Tour de France?
July 13, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Watching the coverage here in the States, I have yet to see mention of any riders taking a bathroom break during the long stages. I recall hearing that TdF rules allow riders to stop at the side of the road only in the countryside, but even so, I haven't seen any mention of this, like a quick comment or quip. (Please note my viewing has been limited to the Versus network and I haven't watched every stage.) Does television coverage in other countries make mention of this? Do the riders just hold it in?
posted by Napoleonic Terrier to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty certain there's a previous AskMe about this.

From what I remember, they mostly don't take breaks - they just go while riding. Riding techniques have been developed to facilitate this, as well as etiquette, e.g. it is considered bad form to overtake someone while they're answering a call of nature.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:56 AM on July 13, 2009

posted by cabingirl at 10:00 AM on July 13, 2009

Mathowie caught one on the tivo.
posted by chiababe at 10:02 AM on July 13, 2009

mathowie's got the definitive answer on this one [from the previous thread]
posted by jessamyn at 10:02 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I find then when I'm bicycling or doing other high energy activities where a bathroom break would be highly inconvenient (hint - look at my Flickr stuff) I don't have to take too many breaks since most every drop of water I swallow makes it's way to the outside without my bladder even getting an at bat.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2009

As a rule, it's forbidden to pee in view of the public in the Tour de France. So, the pack does get in trouble, when the race draws enormous crowds from start till finish.
posted by ijsbrand at 10:13 AM on July 13, 2009

During last year's Tour the video feed cut away so that the riders could take care of business. It was my first time really watching the Tour, and I couldn't figure out why almost everyone was pulling over to the side of the road until Phil Liggett mentioned something about a 'besoin naturel' and the camera pulled away. Amused, I asked my cyclist boyfriend about it later, and he said that sometimes the group will come to a decision to pee, take care of things, and then just carry on.

This year I've been watching the streaming on the Versus website, and there was a mention or two in one of the earlier stages about someone having stopped, though I'm not sure if it was a rider in particular or if it was the group.
posted by alynnk at 11:01 AM on July 13, 2009

In case you haven't noticed, there are many miles of racing before the coverage begins, and likely, in order to avoid having to mention it every day, they make sure it's off camera when it happens tot he whole bunch.
don't worry, on the longer stages every rider out there pees during the stage.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:18 PM on July 13, 2009

I have seen them just lift the side of the shorts and go while riding.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:13 PM on July 13, 2009

Best answer: They seem to cover this all up as best they can in the US, but here in Belgium they often don't cut away. For example, we watched Cancellara stand on the side of the road and pee while a mechanic changed his flat during stage seven. Then he hopped on his bike and screamed down Serra-Seca at about 100 km/hr.

In the US, public urination is specifically against the rules, but I'm pretty sure there's no specific rule in international competition. If there is, there appears to be an unspoken agreement to ignore it. I can say firsthand that people pee whenever they need to -- especially at the start line -- regardless of whether they are in the public view, here in Belgium.

In the Tour de France and other big races, peeing outside of the public view is completely impossible, so they just go. The cameras exercise a bit of discretion, but you see it a lot nonetheless. Telltale sign is a rider moving slowly, coasting on one side of the road and (usually) slightly off the back. Sometimes you can hold on to somebody so you can coast and he can help keep you moving while you go. Other times, the whole group just agrees that it's time and pulls to the side of the road for 30 seconds or whatever.
posted by dseaton at 11:48 PM on July 13, 2009

Additional detail and a minor correction to my comments above from Velonews' Charles Pelkey.
posted by dseaton at 6:19 AM on July 14, 2009

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