Tour de France 2010

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
Anyone?

I usually watch a little bit of it but this year I've really got into it.

I don't understand the tactics or the possible drug-taking (cough) but it's something really special. Amazing physical and mental achievement to make it to the end, never mind having to constantly think about where you are and what time to attack and what time to stay back.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I try and catch some of it.

I used to do quite a bit of road cycling in my younger days so can appreciate exactly how hard these guys work.
They make it look so easy but some of the climbs are absolute killers.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
I watch some of the descents, the Tourmalet decent for example, but not much else. I also get equally confused about the tactics involved though :moustache:
 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
It must be said that :moustache: is perhaps the greatest smilie available on CTA.






Indeed. :moustache:
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I have to say that the whole thing confuses the hell out of me.

I follow a bit of it in the papers mainly and can never understand how one guy can win 4 or 5 stages in a row but another guy can still be in the over all lead even though he's not won a stage? I understand about aggregate timings and all that but the way the timings work in the Tour seems weird.

From what I understand as well is that most of the top riders are smacked up to the eyeballs on various performance enhancing drugs. I've just read in the times today that Lance Armstrong is among a group of riders to be subject to a Federal Investigation in the US over the use of drugs.
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
What do you call a pointless race that covers 2,200 miles through out France?








The French.
 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
Another great thing about the Tour is the scenery.

Ah, look at that French town. Ah, look at that French church.

It's rather pleasant. :)
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Brogan said:
Speshal said:
I've been watching it since I were a wee lad - love it :D
Can you explain the rules for the rest of us then please? :D
Essentially you have 3 main competitions in one.

The yellow jersey is for overall lead of the tour

The green jersey for the sprinters

And the very fetching red and white polka dot jersey for king of the mountains.

There is also the white jersey for best newcomer



In each team you usually have a team principle who is likely to be competing for one of these jerseys and the other riders (domestiques) are there to support them either by helping the principle to the front of the pack or by dragging the reset of the pack (péleton) back towards any group that may have broken away if they pose a risk.

Usually the overall winner is a great all rounder who can do well on the flat and not lose too much time in the mountains, very often you'll see the dedicated sprinters do miserably in the mountains.

There are also individual and team time trials that count towards the rider's overall time.


Also look out for the devil, he's a nutty supporter that you'll see on most stages LOL

 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Spesh has tried to provide a simple explanantion of Le Tour but there is a more simple one. A bunch of drug enhanced men cycle about a bit through through French country side followed by cars full of wheels, drugs and oxigenated blood. After a silly number of days one, or some, man/men is/are given a pretty coloured shirt, the French go mad 'cos it's not a Frenchman and no one else in the world cares.

I thank you.
 

Bullfrog

Rookie
Technically the Green jersey is for the points competition, awarded for final positions on each stage (winner gets 35 points decreasing as you go down the order) and at various checkpoints throughout each stage (for example tomorrows stage could net 60 or so points for someone winning all the intermediate 'sprints').

It is mostly competed for by sprinters as flatish stages predominate but riders who have enough stamina to take part in breakaways can place fairly well in the standings (although you'll often see riders from other teams with a contender send someone with him to try and limit the damage).

Yellow, as mentioned, is for the rider with the lowest overall time (referred to as the General Classification or GC). I'd say this was always won by the best climber. They need to stay with the Peloton (main bunch) through the flat parts of France (and Holland, Belgium and occasionally England) and then be able to duke it out through the mountain stages with the rest of the climbers when the race reaches the Alps and/or Pyrenees.

I think Contador is going to be all but impossible to beat this year. Andy Schleck has a 41 second lead but he'll need more like 3 minutes to stay ahead past the next Time Trial (there's always a couple of individual stages where the riders set off alone at 2 minute intervals, the challenge being to make you're own pace and gauge a decent time, riding in a big group can save as much as 30% of the effort of riding alone). Schleck can't really do TT, and Contador has proven himself one of the best.

I can't be arsed to write about all the tactics, too much to cover, but if anyone has anything specific I'll give it a go.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Anyone ever been kicked out for headbutting while attempting to see his team mate in le maillot verte before?
 

Bullfrog

Rookie
Are you referring to Renshaw today? :D

Just about to watch the highlights, I'm expecting it to be in some jostling during the lead out at the end of the stage. He was at it the day before Cav got his first stage, just rubbin' though (and as we all know, rubbin's racin) no actual striking of competitors.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Thats what I was referring to. It amazes me that the Cavendishes of this world do all this mountain climbing with little hope of success just to sprint home in some stages. Takes all sorts, no?
 

Bullfrog

Rookie
It amazes me how any of them do it (even with a circulatory system full of someone elses blood every day). I believe some of the teams still have riders specifically tasked with pacing their sprinters up the big mountain stages, plus they aren't racing each other on those days so they all come in together hours behind everyone else.

I'd call it a massive achievement just to get to Paris alive, these guys manage it with enough energy to have a full on sprint round the Champs Elysee (champagne included!). They won't all bother though, Petacchi almost never makes it through the Pyrenees, most younger sprinters will pull out as well, Cavendish did in his first year as it does more damage to a developing rider.

*EDIT*

Renshaw being sent home was a little harsh, the butting was a bit much but nothing extraordinary, he was being bounced by the Garmin rider trying to disrupt his lead out. His reaction was a bit more demonstrative than you normally see but wouldn't really warrant a DQ. His chop across Farrar afterwards was worse, very much not the done thing. Sprinters will come round lead out riders as they slow, you never, ever move off your line in that situation, that's liable to cause an accident.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Isn't a lot of it to do with lung capacity/size?

I recall seeing a documentary which said the reason why Miguel Indurain's stomach used to stick out so much was because he had much larger lungs than the average person and they were so far down his body cavity they used to displace his other organs.
 

Bullfrog

Rookie
Quite right, he looked a right tubby get, especially in the mountains. Unsurprisingly, recovery rates are very important too. This is mainly only for the GC riders though, sprinters will need decent fitness just to complete the course every day but they'll have far more speed training to get that explosive burst of speed. The thighs give it away, compare the thighs of say, Armstrong and Cavendish (as if you needed an excuse :snigger: ) and you'll see a very different muscle mass arrangement.
 

Bullfrog

Rookie
What an annoying day yesterday was, I managed to go all day without learning the result of the stage only for the radio in my car to come on when I started the engine after work right in the middle of a sports round up item about the TDF.

It was also annoying for two further reasons: Andy Schleck isn't winning anymore; and we were robbed of a great battle (and possibly a great finish to the tour) by a mechanical gremlin. It's not helped by the fact that I don't like Contador very much. He's getting some stick today for not letting Schleck catch up, although that may be a little harsh on him as it was a bit of a borderline situation. He hasn't helped himself by saying he didn't see the incident and didn't realise Andy had a problem; Alberto, television pictures can confirm that you're a giant liar! You can clearly see him peering back at the turns to see how if Schleck is catching him and as for not seeing it, he was right behind him, he cannot have failed to notice the sudden deceleration and free-pedalling from a bike 4 feet in front of him.

Plenty of confusion in the non-cycling media (as usual, it's not the clearest of sports to the uninitiated), they don't seem to see what all the fuss is about. Comparisons have been made with F1, along the lines of 'Vettel wouldn't wait if Lewis Hamilton got a puncture' etc. A fair enough question on the surface of things, but it's not quite the same. F1 is a test of man and machine, the best (for arguments sake lets say most successful) combination of the two being the winner. The TDF is somewhat different, it's a test of endurance, human endurance; hence we hear almost nothing about the technology of the bikes themselves. All the teams have very similar machinery, and in a crucial difference with F1, they have plenty of it available to them whenever they need it. There are no rules preventing a rider from changing a wheel in the event of a puncture or even the entire bike if there is a serious crash. The riders have always acknowledged that it should be a test of who has the strongest physique and the most endurance, not who has the strongest bike and the best spanners.

*Humungous Caveat*
I appreciate there's a giant shadow cast over this whole concept by the rampant drugs problem that infests cycling far more obviously than other sports (so large that I'm struggling to see the keyboard in this gloom). The odd thing is, this really doesn't affect the tone in which the riders approach the tour. Earlier in the competition the riders had a go slow protest of sorts when the stage included a lot of road that the riders felt was a bit dangerous. Several times during that day the main field slowed considerably to allow fallen riders to rejoin as the general consensus was that it was unfair to penalise those who had punctures or accidents due to the state of the road surface rather than the skill or endurance of the rider.

Lastly, the race itself could hardly be longer or harder than it already is, all the riders appreciate this and they all know how crushing it is to be taken out of contention through no fault of your own, hence another rule that allows anyone crashing in the last kilometre to still finish the stage on the same time as those around them. It was obvious yesterday that riders and fans alike thought Contador should not have kept going and if they weren't in their own battle for third spot Sanchez and Menchov would not have kept such up a hard pace. The fans at the presentation made their feelings very clear, roundly booing Contador on the podium, and he's come out and apologised today, to me that's all the confirmation needed.

Wow, sorry for the wall o text, guess who's bored at work today? ;)
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I watched some highlights and was slightly confused by some of the comments relating to "chain-gate" - see what I did there? :D

I must confess I still don't understand the issue.
Were all the other riders expected to stop to allow that chap to put his chain back on? :s
 
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