Newbie guide to le Tour de France. Jerseys & prizes

tdf-4-jerseys

Yellow The big one.  This is for the overall winner measured on total time

Green – Awarded for the most points (points are awarded based on finish position in each stage, plus in sprints in the middle of each stage).  Previously the best all-rounder, now more oriented to the best sprinter, but still requires that sprinter to get over the hills and finish with the main bunch on the hilly stages

White Same rules as the yellow but for riders 25 years old or younger

Polka Dot Points are awarded at the top of every categorized climb, so should be the best climber.  The bigger the mountain, the higher the points.  Stages which finish at the top of a climb normally have even more points

Combativity Award – the most aggressive rider on each stage voted by a jury – normally a guy in the breakaway

Team Classification – taken on the time of the best 3 riders from a team each day

by Stuart ‘Clip’ Caunt

Newbie guide to le Tour de France. Teams

Let’s be clear, it’s Q’s idea to call this a girl’s guide.  I’d rather call it a newbie guide..

Tour de France Team Jerseys22 teams will line up in Leeds on 5th July at the start of the Tour de France, each with a maximum compliment of 9 riders meaning that 198 riders will roll away on the mammoth journey towards Paris.  Once the race starts there is no substitution – lose a rider to injury, illness, failed drug test or missing the time limit on the day and you start with fewer the next.  What makes cycling so unique is that even on day 1, less than 10 riders will honestly think they have any chance of taking the overall win.

So what makes the rest want to ride 3,664km in 3 weeks (other than the promise of a scone at Betty’s Tea Room at the stage 1 finish in Harrogate)?

To help your team mate win the race – If your team leader has a chance of winning the yellow jersey, it’s your job to help him do that and he’ll make it worth your while.  Tradition has it that the prize money for the winner is actually given to his team mates so that’s a minimum win bonus of just over 56k Euros per rider in the team of the winner (allegedly Bradley Wiggins has still not paid Chris Froome his money from 2012…)

For stage wins – every stage needs a winner (and there’s 22.5k euros up for grabs for the winner each day) and in most stages the favourites don’t need to be at the front.  As long as they finish in the same bunch as the winner everyone gets the same time.  That’s why you don’t see the spindly contenders for the yellow jersey battling with the big sprinters on flat days.  It’s also why you see riders ride away from the big bunch at the start of the day – some days those guys do win, particularly later in the Tour, when the stage is not flat enough for the sprinters and all of the contenders for the overall win are happy to watch each other and have an easy day (although most days they only fulfill the need below)

To get you or your team on the TV – Cycling makes great TV, especially the Tour De France.  Brightly coloured clothing, beautiful scenery (the Tour is basically 3 weeks worth of great reasons to go on holiday to France), crashes, gurning, it’s got the lot.  Typically the most attention is given by the cameras to the riders at the front on that stage.  With most stages being at least 4 hours long and all on TV, that’ a lot of time the brands on your jersey can be shown live on TV

For one of the other jerseys – more of those later…

Main Types of Rider

Potential Winner aka GC contender – these guys can climb, time trial and position themselves well enough in the bunch (with the help of their teammates) to stay out of trouble

Sprinters – Great to watch on any stage.  On the flat they are saving every ounce of energy to unleash all of it in the last 300m as they hurtle towards the line at speeds of up to 70kph.  In the mountains the 80kg+ that some of them carry around means they suffer on these days like nobody else as they and their most trusted team mates battle to reach the line before the time cutoff

TdF-Sprinters

Climbers – in the mountains it’s all about power to weight ratio, that’s why you’ll sometimes see tiny guys disappearing up the road.  The best climbers weigh as little as 57kg

TdF-Climbers

Domestiques – if you ride in one of the teams with a rider who can win the whole thing, your only job for 3 weeks will be to do whatever your team leader needs – no matter how good you are.  Ride in front of him to keep him out of the wind.  Go back to the team car to get him water bottles, gels, jackets etc.  Stop with him if he needs a natural break to make sure he gets back to the bunch.  Give him your wheel (or entire bike if it fits) if he gets a puncture.  Lance Armstrong’s US Postal started the fashion of putting all of your eggs in one basket and backing one rider for the win and not caring about anything else and now Team Sky have taken up the mantle (hence Mark Cavendish having a less than stellar tour in 2012 by his standards – the team had claimed they would go for the yellow and green jerseys, but made no real effort at the green.  Cavendish was World Champion at that point and even did his work bringing bottles for the team on some days, something a World Champion would typically never be asked to do in cycling’s strict hierarchy)

by Stuart ‘Clip’ Caunt

Girls guide to le Tour de France. Route

The race starts on 5th July and is made up of 21 stages over a total distance of 3,664 kilometres. This year it starts in Yorkshire, makes its way to London. They fly to France, continues on taking a minor detour in to Belgium, then on down to the French Alps, on into the Pyranees where it skirts into Spain, down from the mountains to Bergerac where the individual TT is held after all that mountain climbing!!! then they fly up to Paris for the grand finale on the Champs-Élysées on 27th July. Bells & whistles!

TdF-Route

The races comprises 9 flat stages, 5 hill stages (I think Jebel Hafeet would be considered ‘a hill’ in the Tour), 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes – up to 2360m, there’s 3 days of climbing through the Alps (stage 10, 13 & 14) and 3 days in the Pyrenees (stage 16, 17 & 18).

TDF14_PROFIL CUMULE

There’s 1 individual time trial stage (stage 20) is a 54km TT on what I suspect would be tired legs after all those mountain climbs in the preceding days, however Stage 19 is c.200km of relative flatness.

There are 2 well deserved rest days over the course of the race – they ride for 10 days, then have a day off, then ride another 5 days, day off, and complete the remaining 6 stages.

Phil Liggett and his offsider Paul Sherwin are the voices of cycling, in particular Liggett who is famed for his Tour de France commentary, with colourful expressions about riders or racing conditions with often literary overtones, providing a tourists guide to France along the way.

Girls guide to the Tour de France. History

I’m not a biker, I’m into triathlon, in fact I only started riding a bike here in UAE 5 years ago. That being said it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a growing interest in the Tour de France, with a new found appreciation of the riders extreme fitness and unreal bike handling skills and hype around the sport, inparticular since the Armstrong ‘revelations’ and more importantly since the excitement and gamesmanship surrounding Le Tour de Toot. Anyway, I decided to provide the answers to the questions I always wanted to ask the bikers of the team about Le Tour… without fear of being chastised for my ignorance – its a bit like asking about the off side rule in football. So today’s lesson on Le Tour is a bit of history…

The French love bike racing always have from what I can gather. Basically, the race was a result of a battle of the French cycling magazines – it’s a long story, so I shall summarise. France’s leading cycling magazine L’Velo, came a cropper when the magazine owner Gifford was involved in a bit of treachery (cycling, treachery, really?). Another chap, Count de Dion who had a vested interest in the mag, took it over and called it L’Auto-Velo, then an ex-racer Desgrange with a big following came in on the scene, got L’Auto-Velo to drop the ‘Velo’ for some reason? and ended up with the magazine called L’Auto, there was some rivalry between L’Velo and L’Auto, and Desgrange needed a big idea to raise the profile of what was essentially a magazine called ‘The Car’ trying to pull readers in the cycling scene, so a chap called Geo Lefevre, who was really into cycling, knew the pro’s and their fans and was an amateur cyclist himself, knew the only way to increase the readership of the magazine L’Auto was to promote the longest cycling race in the world.

So they came up with the whacky race – Le Tour de France. The first TDF started on 1st July 1903. 78 men signed up, 60 started (there was a drop out rate even then) and 21 finished. The first tour was 2,428km, split into 6 stages, the shortest being 268km and the longest 471km. There were 2-4 days rest between each stage. They rode heavy bikes, weighing 15 kilograms or more, made of steel with wooden wheel rims and big balloon tyres, the roads were rough and muddy when it rained. Just think about that for a moment…!

Maurice Garin won the first Tour and his prize 6,000 gold francs – the equivalent of 9 years wages for a manual worker in the town where he came from! He was rich, and lets face it, he earned every franc in what was a totally gruelling race! Magazine sales went up massively, and the passion for the race was ignited and as they say… the rest is history.

To the French the Tour de France heralds the coming of summer, the holidays and happy memories… and summer is here again, this year, the 101st Tour de France starts on Saturday 5th July in the very French town – Leeds (?) and finishes in Paris on 27th July 2014.

TdT Stage 2 :: 80km individual TT

One of the best mornings we have put in for a long while. Great camaraderie and everyone showed who was in town (except Sky captain Andy V) and I think we all put our A game in. From what I could see, everyone stepped up to the plate. Harmony in a bike team is critical and the loss of a rider from Orica Green Edge mid-week proved to be very costly for the Orica GE squad. They had a few extra riders today also but as the overall placing’s and Top 3 from each team count, it can be argued as one of Orica’s greatest boo-boo’s over these past 3 seasons. Sky racing went damn close going 1-2 overall today but it was their 3rd rider that cost them dearly and certain overall team

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points. Devastating for Sky captain Andy Veall who chose to rest for the cols in July and the absence of Stuart Caunt proved costly. The return of Simon Marshall was a huge signing, but again, that 3rd rider overall was the factor. Its not that Ben and Chris did not try, they were all in, it was just bike racing at this level!! Who would of thought the worse camaraderie of them all, the Black Nomads would produce an amazing ride today to take overall lead in the critical point system. No leader, everyone for themselves has turned into an incredible bond that may carry into the mountain stage. I imagine Anders is certainly having the last laugh now. The overall classification following Stage 2: Nomads on 148 points Sky racing system 147 points Orica Green Edge on 141 points Incredible considering entering into today, Orica Green edge had a 9 point lead over the Nomads and 6 on Sky. I would imagine some friction in the Cresswell residence tonight… Overall winner today was Jimmy from Sky racing who had an incredible battle with fellow team mate and original sky leader in 2012 Simon Marshall. Next Stage.. the Mountain Stage!

Saboteurs

Who’s that sitting on your shoulder? It’s your own personal saboteur

Robbie posted an inspirational video on Facebook recently of US middle-distance runner Heather Kampf (née Doriden) racing the 600m distance in the 2008 Big 10 Indoor Track Championship. With 200m to go, she trips and goes down. The three other runners fly past, but she’s back on her feet in a flash. She’s trailing 50m but with 150m to go, she kicks like fury, picks off the back two, then finishes strong to win.

I was about to file it in my head under ‘Inspiration for Race Day’ (which is a different folder from ‘Inspiration to Get Out of Bed and Train at 4am’). Then I thought, “What made her get back up?” Because she had a choice, right? Kampf didn’t trip: it’s a proper flat-out fall. She could have just cursed her bad luck and walked off the race.

And let’s be honest, we’ve all had moments when we are hurting for any pretext, excuse or reason to slacken the pace or drop the cadence. And all of this took place at the speed of thought. Her brain’s cerebellum crackled to get her back up and running, hard. The neocortex pointed out the direction and the amygdala processed what she felt about it, all in question of milliseconds. Why did she take the decision that she did?

According to Shirzad Chamine, author of the New York Times bestseller Positive Intelligence, it seems Kampf has a handle on her Saboteurs, and a thriving relationship with their counterpart, the Sage.

Saboteurs, as the name suggests, are your enemies. They are the knee-jerk reactions, with their own beliefs and assumptions, which work against you. The Sage is the Good Guy. Your Sage taps into your wisdom, deeper insights and “often untapped mental powers” Chamine says. The Sage and the Saboteurs could be portrayed as the angel and the devil on every cartoon characters’ shoulders, from Homer Simpson to Donald Duck.

Except it is a little lopsided. Because there’s only one Sage and on the other side, there is a capo di tutti capi Saboteur called the Judge and he’s operating a mafia of nine mobster accomplices. We all have them, the question is which ones and how much free rent they are getting in our heads. Let me introduce a few Saboteurs whom you may already be familiar with.

Hyper-achiever. How long does your post-race high last? The next day? Till you get on the plane? People who exhibit this trait are dependent on constant performance and achievement for self-respect and self-validation and highly focused on external success. The problem is that peace and happiness is fleeting in brief celebrations of achievement.

Hyper-rational. Garmin Connect is the best friend you never had. The rational mind is where it’s at; feelings are so overrated. This hyper-rational internal enemy focuses on the rational processing of everything, including relationships. Which can be a little intimidating for people who are less analytically intense. Or who don’t really know how the Garmin works.

Controller. Coach is studying psychology and sometimes I wonder if we are the lab rats in his research project called Tour de la Toot. Maybe he is waiting for the Controller to pop up. This Saboteur is described as an “anxiety-based need to take charge and control situations and people’s actions to one’s own will”. Which could make teamwork pretty challenging.

The way to disarm our Saboteurs and achieve our true potential, according to Charmine, is to train more. Not hours on the HT, we need to identify the squatters in our heads and develop the brain muscles to respond. He wants us to do reps. Just add it to that 10 to 20 hour training plan.

You can take the test online and find out what Saboteurs are pulling your strings. I’m a Stickler, an Avoider, and a Pleaser. I’m going to address that last one first, by not offering to write anything else for the T2A website.

by Marcella Moohan

TdT Stage 1 :: Point score

Point score with best 3 results from team counts Coach :: Orica Green Edge 20 points Sellar :: Sky Racing 19 points Piers :: Black/Nomads 19 points Colleen :: Orica Green Edge 19 points Zoe :: Orica Green edge 18

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points Jimmy :: Sky racing 17 points Karl :: Black/Nomads 16points Andy :: Sky racing 15 points Ben :: Sky racing 14 points Anders :: BMC/Nomads 13 points Tron :: Quick Step Systems/Nomads 12 points Sharon :: Orica Green Edge 10 points Allan :: Orica Green Edge 10 points Sam :: Livestrong/Nomads 10 points Suz :: Orica Green Edge 10 points Stuey :: Sky Racing 10 points Team Classifications (which only counts) 1st :: Orica Green Edge 57 points 2nd :: Sky Racing Systems 51 points 3rd :: Black/Nomads 48 points