Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tour de France 2009

The Tour is back! The Tour is back!

The world's most prestigious cycling event starts today. This, the 96th Tour, is made up of 21 stages and covers 3,500 kilometers (2,170 miles).

These 21 stages have the following profiles:

10 flat stages,
7 mountain stages,
1 medium mountain stage,
2 individual time-trial stages,
1 team time-trial stage

20 teams, each with 9 riders, are entered in this year's race.

Besides competing for the overall win (the Yellow jersey) there are other jerseys up for grabs to:

Yellow - The maillot jaune is worn by the general classification leader.

Green - The maillot vert is awarded for sprint points. At the end of each stage, points are earned by the riders who finish first, second, etc. Points are higher for flat stages, as sprints are more likely, and less for mountain stages, where climbers usually win.

Polka Dot - The King of the Mountains wears a white jersey with red dots (maillot à pois rouges), inspired by a jersey that Félix Lévitan saw at the Vélodrome d'Hiver in Paris in his youth. The competition gives points to the first to top designated hills and mountains.

White - The maillot blanc (white jersey) is for the best rider under 25 on January 1 that year.

Most Combative - The prix de la combativité goes to the rider who most animates the day, usually by trying to break clear of the field. The most combative rider wears a number printed white-on-red instead of black-on-white next day.

The main story of this years tour will be Lance's return. Love him or hate him, he brings much needed attention to the Tour. How will Lance do? Can he compete for the Yellow Jersey after 3 years off and at the age of 38? Is he even the leader of his team (team Astana)? Albeto Contador of Spain (the 2007 winner), would seem to have a legitimate claim on being the leader. And Levi Leipheimer of the US is no slouch either.

I will be posting daily updates on the race and a Fun Fact each day - I'm sure y'all will be waiting with baited-breath.

Here are few useful links:

Versus TV schedule

General TV and Internet Streaming Info

Official Tour Site

Tour de France for Dummies

Tour de France 101

Tour de France Predictions

1 comment:

Roger said...

I love your Tour info and facts! So yes indeed, I will be waiting with clean breath, thanks to Orbit gum!