I have been following the tour or Le Tour or even The Tour "day" France for a number of years now
The tour, if you don't already know, is a bike race around France
(and the odd other country in the EU) for the better part of the month of July
Everyday (yea I know not quite)
they get up, eat 10000 calories,
get on the bike and ride a hundred plus miles
On a good day, the course is only hilly
on the "bad days" you get to climb an Alp
It's arguable to call any of the days on the tour "good days" really.
There are a couple of "rest days" during the tour when there is no racing
but the riders have so much lactic acid in there muscles they have to ride some on those days too.
Or risk, what I can only surmise would be the rider spontaneously combusting in their hotel room.
The race has one winner, the rider with the lowest total elapsed time for the day races
but it is really a team sport, trust me.
(didn't make any sense to me either until I followed alone for a few years)
but their are hotly contested winners for :
King of the Mountains - Red Polka Dot Jersey
Kind of odd but the riders that do well in the mountains usually don't sprint well
probably has to do with the amount of fast twitch vs slow twitch muscle fiber etc
Fastest Sprinter - Green Jersey
The symmetrical corollary to the rule above but the riders that sprint well don't do as well in the mountains
Best Young Rider - White Jersey
Did I mention that the CPA has proposed a minimum salary of $76,160 for pro cyclist? Thats over 50000 euros if you are keeping track that way. So being the Best Young Rider in a big race like the tour would up that amount quite a bit. Contracts for the rest of the Peloton vary greatly but its not a bad gig over all. Not the NBA but what is? I wonder how many mats you could buy for 76,100?
The teams themselves while representing a national corporation or two employ an international mix of riders.
So you can't really get too whooped up along national lines
Which makes it a nice cool down from the current World Cup.
Did I mention that there aren't really any referees in cycling?
Not really, there are Tour Officials but they tend to go in for drug busts and leave the competition to the riders,
which is nice
This year there is a grudge match between an older yet wiser rider and the latest in a series of young, gifted riders that can ride like the wind up hill and down but haven't grasped the one inviolable rule in cycling.
NEVER PISS OFF LANCE
So there you have it, as nice an overview and preview as you will find in any newspaper.
Since June gloom may very well last thru to August
I have my month pretty well planned out
High carbohydrate dinners followed by liberal doses of the local red
There is a nice balance to it
I sit on the couch watching high lights on TV
They participate in the most grueling epic in all of sport
If you want to find out more, check here
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