Condensed Answer: The Tour De France consists of stages requiring constant relocation. Thus, the riders sleep in hotels near the race during the night and in incredibly modern and futuristic buses when traveling.
The Tour De France is a global cycling event that involves a great number of people – cyclists, mechanics, team doctors, nutritionists, cooks, masseurs, journalists, support drivers, law enforcement agents, commissaires, medics, organizers, construction workers…etc.
The Tour De France has 21 stages lasting a day or two each and taking place in a different city/region. Therefore, the competition requires constant relocation of the people participating in the event.
As a consequence, every hotel in the involved region and its proximities is booked for the duration of the stage.
The riders as well the teams behind them hold the most importance and receive the best rooms and services. If everything is organized perfectly, the riders don’t have to think about trivial details because their recovery is of the highest importance for success.
In some cases, team nutritionists and cooks are allowed to work in the hotel kitchen so that they can ensure that each rider consistently receives the necessary nutrition for optimal performance and recuperation.
Modern Tour Buses
Cycling teams have very well-equipped modern tour buses designed to make the traveling experience as comfortable as possible. The buses have comfortable seats, TV, printers, projectors, a kitchen, a bathroom with a shower, an area for medical exams and massages, beds…etc.
During the transportation process, some riders sleep while going to the next destination. However, the buses are not used for sleeping during the night.
Interesting Fact: In some cases, mobile beds are transported from one hotel to the next so that the riders sleep on the same bed wherever they are. The goal is once again decreased stress and increased comfort in the name of maximum recovery and top performance.
It’s also worth mentioning that some Tour De France riders have a bed at home with the same characteristics as the one they use when touring. They use the same bed so that the body can acclimate to it and fall asleep faster.
What About Motorhomes?
In the past, some riders have also relied on motorhomes (RVs) during the tour. The main advantage of motorhomes is that they’re highly customizable and allow the cyclist to have a level of comfort that a random hotel room cannot match.
However, in 2015, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) banned motorhomes from the Tour De France and ruled out that all riders should use the official hotels booked by the organizers of the event. The main argument behind the decision was that all riders should have equal conditions during the competition.
“Riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organiser throughout the entire duration of the race”, stated representatives of the UCI. (source)
The Downsides Of Sleeping In a Hotel Room During The Tour
Sleeping in a hotel room during the tour has the following downsides:
- Lots of Traveling
Once the stage is done, the riders have to travel to their hotel and get to the next point in the morning. Thus, the riders and the teams spend a lot of time going between hotels and races. The extra traveling results in chronic fatigue.
- Subpar conditions
In some cases, the hotel conditions won’t be optimal due to the lack of room or just poor organization. There are situations when big cycling names have to sleep on an inflated mattress on the floor of a hotel room.
It’s also worth mentioning that representatives of the “support groups” (e.g., journalists) may end up sleeping in far worst conditions because of room shortage.
- Twin Rooms
Most riders share a room with a teammate. Not everybody likes that because a solo room gives more freedom, reduces distractions and thus makes it easier to get the necessary rest.
In most cases, only the team riders enjoy the luxury of a solo room.