It's nearly July and three weeks of late nights and little sleep approach and I can't wait! In Australia Tour de France live coverage begins at 10 pm and if I'm lucky I may be in bed by 1pm...ish. Then it is a matter of finding sleep while buzzing with the remaining nervous tension from a dramatically contested stage finale...night, after night, after night.
Add this lack of sleep to a le Tour inspired enthusiasm to ride my bike more, and go to work, and parental duties...it's hard work. And the riders in the Tour think it's tough!
Typically a Tour rider will burn about 5,900 calories per day. That makes it approximately 123,900 calories over the 21 days of racing. No wonder that when Cadel Evans was asked how it felt to be standing on the podium in Paris on the Champs Elysees at the biggest sporting event on earth he answered: "All I could think about was pizza."
For any newcomers to le Tour, read on for some facts about the race, the teams and this year's route:
- This is the 100th edition of the race. The 21 stages will cover a total distance of 3,399.5km (2,112 miles).
- The Tour begins on Saturday 29th June and finishes in Paris on Sunday 21st July 2013.
- The starting location changes every year. In 2013 it will kick off on the French island of Corsica.
- The 21 stages will be broken down as such: Two individual time trials (ITT), one team time trial (TTT), seven flat stages, five undulating or medium mountain stages and six high mountain stages. There will be two rest days.
- The longest is the high mountain stage to Mont Ventoux at 242.5km (150 miles).
- The shortest is a 25km (15 mile) team time trial in Nice.
- The tour has four jerseys to denote the leaders of each category: Yellow (overall leader), Green (points or sprint leader), Polkadot (mountains points) and White (young rider).
- The yellow and white jerseys are measured by overall time.
- The green and polkadot jerseys are the accumulation of points at stage finishes and also intermediate sprint and mountain locations.
- 22 teams contest le Tour de France. They are selected on UCI points basis plus there are 3 wild card spots (often going to French teams).
- In alphabetical order: AG2R La Mondiale (FRA), Argos Shimano (NED), Astana (KAZ), Blanco (NED), BMC (USA), Cannondale (ITA), Cofodis (FRA), Europcar (FRA), Euskatel (ESP), FDJ (FRA), Garmin Sharp (USA), Katusha (RUS), Lampre-Merida (ITA), Lotto Belisol (BEL), Movistar (ESP), Omega Pharma Quick Step (BEL), Orica GreenEdge (AUS), Radioshack-Leopard (LUX), Saxo-Tinkoff (DEN), SKY (GBR), Sojasun (FRA), Vacansoleil (NED).
- Each team can choose 9 riders to contest the Tour.
- That makes 198 riders to begin racing in Corsica on 29th June.
Interesting and Historical:
- The first tour was in 1903. The 6 stages were long and arduous, with the entire race covering 2,428km (1,509 miles) in 19 days.
- As an approximation, the average rider will do 324,000 pedal strokes at 60rpm, and 486,000 at 90 rpm.
- In excess of 2,300 accredited journalists, 1,100 technicians and chauffeurs, 4,500 support personel and 1,500 vehicles accompany the riders throughout the three week event.
- Yes, they are smoking cigarettes is the picture above!
Aside from all that, it is an awesome spectacle to watch either on television or from the roadside.
Where will you be on 29th June??