Le Tour de France
It’s Tour season.
We have two kinds of Tour spectators:
1. The kind who know everything about all the riders, stages, which jersey represents what, who key players are in specific teams, etc.
2. The kind who watches because it sounds interesting but they’re not really sure of all the specifics, but can totally get into it.
Now I’m not going to pretend to know everything about the Tour, because I sure don’t, but I did a little research so those of us in category 2 can understand at least half of what everyone else is talking about.
What is Le Tour de France?
It’s a three week tour of a series of countries that changes every year. This year, the Tour goes through the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Spain, with 21 stages.
It started on July 1, 1903, with 60 riders, and has grown exponentially since.
What is a stage?
A stage is an individual course on the tour, usually going from one city or town to another. This year’s tour has 21 stages. You can find a list of the stages on Le Tour’s website.
What’s with all those special award jerseys?
Each jersey represents a classification, and are handed out at the end of each stage.
Yellow Jersey: First across the finish line of the stage, and best overall time.
Polka-dot Jersey: King of the Mountains. This jersey is awarded to the best climber of the stage.
Green Jersey: Best sprinter of the stage.
White Jersey: Best of the youngest riders in the stage.
Is Lance riding this year?
Does everyone ride the Tour individually?
No. Each rider is a member of a team, with one VIP rider and several “domestique” riders, who protect the VIP from elements, other riders and wrecks, and try to get the VIP to the front of the pelaton. You can find a list of teams and their jerseys here.
What’s a pelaton?
It’s French for “pack.” It’s the main group of riders in any race.
What’s this I keep hearing about Mark Cavendish?
Cavendish, the VIP rider of Belgium team Omega Pharma-Quick Step and rumored to have been going for the Tour win, crashed near the end of the first stage and is out of the tour with a dislocated shoulder.
Where can I watch the Tour?
You can live stream from a variety of websites, but I would suggest NBC Sports.
Each stage is MANY hours long. Am I supposed to watch the whole thing?
You sure can if you want to! Invite some friends and have a watch party! If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, you can wait til later in the stage and skip to the best parts.
And to make it more interesting, here are a few drinking games for your enjoyment.
Here’s one from Drunk Cyclist.
One from DrinkiWiki.
And one from Bicycling magazine.
Enjoy, and keep riding!