Do you like the French countryside? Astonishing feats of human endurance? Tight male asses?
Then boy do I have just the thing for you!
The Tour de France is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than 3,600 kilometres (2,200 mi) and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The race is broken into day-long segments, called stages. Individual times to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winner at the end of the race. The rider with the lowest aggregate time at the end of each day wears a yellow jersey. The course changes every year, but the race has always finished in Paris. Since 1975, the climax of the final stage has been along the Champs-Élysées.
This year, le Tour starts July 2 in Passage du Gois: of note, it will be a road stage, rather than a time trial prologue. Says race director Jean-françois Pescheux, "We wanted to shake up the teams’ plans a little bit and change the way they operate. Only 10 riders can realistically contend for victory in a prologue. But each one of the 198 riders could win this stage and pull on the yellow jersey."
The Yellow Jersey - maillot jaune
- indicates the rider who leads in the overall classification of the race. To hold the jersey for even one day is considered one of the greatest possible accomplishments in a cyclists' career, and riders often - particularly the French - take great heart from wearing it and push themselves to better results than is expected of them, desperately hoping to hold onto it for just one more day. (See: Voeckler, Thomas
.) The two-time defending champion is Alberto Contador of España, riding under a new banner this year with team Saxo Bank-SunGuard.
There are other jerseys to be held and won as well:
The Green Jersey - maillot vert
- is held by the rider who wins the most points at various intermediate sprint checkpoints along the stage routes and at each stage's finish line. These guys are the ones who have the highest top speed on flat land but are unlikely to keep pace on the gruelling mountain stages. The reigning champion is Alessandro Petacchi of Italia.
The Polka-dot Jersey - maillot à pois rouges
- is held by the King of the Mountains. Essentially, this takes the same principle as the Green Jersey but with the checkpoints being placed at the summit of climbs. Ascents rated with higher difficulty award a larger number of points. The reigning champion is Anthony Charteau of France.
The White Jersey - maillot blanc
- is given to the leader of the Young Rider Competition. Of those riders who were under the age of 25 on the first of January in the year of the race, he who has the highest ranking in the general classification holds this jersey. Andy Schleck of Luxembourg is the reigining champion of this classification, but is now too old to qualify.
There is also the Team Competition, where the times of the top three riders of a team on a stage are combined to make their overall team time. The reigining champions are Team RadioShack.
I'll try to keep these updated each day during the race with the current holders. Might be a bit late each day with my sleep/work schedule though.
So what say you, SE++? Anyone else enjoy watching dudes on bikes for hours at a time every day for a month?
A breakaway escaped, culminating in an attack and win by another Norwegian. The main contenders couldn't crack each other on the final climb, but Contador and Sanchez seemed to gain time on the descent to the finish, before being caught by the others within the last kilometer. The loser of the day was race leader Voeckler who ended up in a carpark on the descent due to pushing too hard in the treacherous corners in an attempt to gain time, losing around 25 seconds but still holding onto his jersey by over a minute going into tomorrow's tough mountain stage.
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) - Sky Procycling - :00
2. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands) - BMC Racing - :40
3. Sandy Casar (France) - FDJ - :50
4. Julien El Fares (France) - Cofidis - :50
5. Sylvain Chavanel (France) - Quick Step - :50
1. Thomas Voeckler (France) - Europcar - :00
2. Cadel Evans (Australia) - BMC Racing - 1:18
3. Frank Schleck (Luxembourg) - Leopard-Trek - 1:22
4. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) - Leopard-Trek - 2:36
5. Samuel Sanchez (Spain) - Euskaltel-Euskadi - 2:59
Yellow: Thomas Voeckler (France) - Europcar
Green: Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) - HTC-Highroad
Polka-dot: Jelle Vanendert (Belgium) - Omega-Pharma Lotto
White: Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) - Sky Procycling
Team Competition: Europcar