Let's talk about this year's Tour:
July 4-26, 21 race days and only 2 rest days.
2,149 miles in 21 days!
10 flat stages (no climbing where the sprinters shine), 7 mountain climbing stages, 1 medium mountain stage.
2 individual time trial stages (race against the clock, alone), 1 team time trial stage (race against the clock with team).
20 mountain passes will be climbed, some days will have multiple passes.
Yellow jersey is the leader of the race, can stay the same or change daily depending on time.
Green jersey is the sprinter's jersey, indicating the fastest man on two wheels. Top stage finishers earn points towards jersey.
Polka Dot jersey is the King Of The Mountains, which is the best climber. Points are earned on climbs towards jersey.
White jersey is the best youngest rider (under 26). Earned by time in general classification.
Did I mention Lance Armstrong is back? Yeah, he's kind of a big deal in cycling, having won the Tour de France oh 7 times in the past. To me the race hasn't quite been the same with out him and it's just magic watching him race. Plus as an added bonus, he's on Twitter sharing with his followers through out the day. Twitter has completely changed the race for me, making it much more exciting. I am able to chat with people around the world and also have an insider's perspective from Lance, George, Levi, and Johan (Team Astana's manager). There are many other cyclists, teams, and announcers on Twitter just go take a peek they are easy to find.
I can't quite explain what it's like to watch the Tour every morning. My heart races, I smile, I worry, if it's raining I cover my eyes a lot in fear of crashes, and I love the thrill of the race. With cycling you never know what a stage will turn out, an unexpected break away or drop out. Tuning in everyday I know I'll see an amazing group of athletes facing defeat, fatigue, and pulling from the depths of their character to cross that finish line.
Oh and this view doesn't hurt either:
Right now Lance is in a tie for first place. I can't quite recall this ever happening in the Tour in the last ten years, maybe once involving Floyd Landis in 2006. Lance isn't currently in yellow, Fabian Cancellara is and boy is he a power house. Both are racing incredibly strong. I'm sure this won't be my last Tour post in the next few weeks, hope you find the time to tune into Versus and catch some coverage. Beware, you may just become a fan of cycling.
Want more? My previous Tour de France posts