Chris Froome. OK, you probably wanted more than that…
2015 marks the 102nd Tour de France, although the first Tour ran in 1903, it took a break during both World Wars. In 2014 the Tour de France started in Yorkshire, England, in front of wild crowds, before heading to Buckingham Palace in London. In 2015 the Tour de France started in Utrecht, which the eagle eyed amongst you will notice isn’t in France either, but it was safely back in France for Bastille Day.
The Tour de France is the largest annual spectator sport event in the world. Only the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup draw more people, and they only happen every four years. In cities, towns and villages across France, around ten million people will turn out to see the Tour pass by, and almost all of them will do so for free.
For road cycling fans the Tour de France outranks all other races, including the two other grand tours, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. It takes place from in July 2014 and will cover around 2000 miles with just two rest days.
Who Will Win The Yellow Jersey?
Quintana, Contador and Froome looked set to battle it out for yellow in 2015 and Froome seems to be winning. That said, there’s a lot that can happen between now and next Sunday. Last year Contador hit the tarmac, and he was out at the halfway point, despite trying to cycle on with a broken leg. Andrew Talansky quit after a horrible day in the saddle.
Froome is the man for 2015, and if he can continue to master the art of looking up whilst riding he’s in nailed on to win. Richie Porte and G as the Sky candidates look strong in a team built for Froome.
Quintana looks to be his only real challenge, with Valverde constantly attacking to wear Froome down on behalf of his Movistar Team leader. Movistar have survived the first two weeks of the Tour well, giving Quintana some strength in depth for the final push towards Paris.
Nobody can rule out Nibali, after a shaky start he looks like his legs might now carry him all the way to Paris.
Contador is looking like a busted flush and Tejay van Garderen went home in tears after encountering the Alps.
What Do the Jersey Colors Mean?
Only one man will win the Tour de France, completing the course in the shortest time. He will be presented with the famous Yellow Jersey on the podium on the Champs-Elysees, but there will be other winners. One team will all share in the glory of the Yellow Jersey as the team that won.
One rider will win the Green Jersey, the award for the cyclist with the most sprint points. One will win the red and white Polka Dot Jersey and be crowned ‘King of the Mountains’. One rider will win the White Jersey for best young rider.
One hapless chap will win the unofficial award from his fellow riders, the “lanterne rouge”, the award given to the rider who completes the Tour in the longest time, he’ll get a red rear warning light for his bike. It’s not an insult, finishing the race is a real achievement.
You can wear this yellow jersey with pride knowing that you’ve won exactly the same number of Tours de France as Lance Armstrong.
Just as importantly, you can maintain that pride because this shirt is well made and washes extremely well so it can be worn again and again.
Who Will Win the King of the Mountains 2014
Right now there’s no dominating climber like Pantani in the pack.
Joaquim Rodrigues is the man to watch at the moment, but his form is shaky. Rafal Majka is in the running if Rodrigues has a wobble.
It could go to one of the GC contenders rather than a skinny climber who just focuses on the KoM Jersey. The mountain stages are brutal, too brutal for plucky Thomas Voeckle who always tries to use his getaway skills to scoop up points in the middle of rides.
Who Will Win The White Jersey?
The white jersey is always hard to call as young riders can be unpredictable when faced with all of the pressures that the world’s biggest sporting event can throw at you over three grueling weeks. If Quintana isn’t in yellow, then he’ll likely cross the line in white.
Got a budding white jersey winner in your house? Got an itch to get back out on the road yourself?
Got a belly and want it to go away?
Who Will Win The Green Jersey?
This year the Green Jersey has a new sponsor. Skoda cars, a long time TdF partner, will take over from PMU, the French betting concern to sponsor the sprinters’ competition.
Peter Sagan is the main contender in the running, and tops the bookies charts. He comes coming home second, but second most days beats first for just one day in the points competition.
Mark Cavendish could still be in the mix on the Champs Elysee, but it looks like it will be too late to take the jersey.
Andre Greipel is another rider not to be dismissed , but it’s looking like Sagan has it sewed up.
Horrible Sprint Crash
Sprints are very, very fast, and a crash at that speed can be horrible. The police should know this.
Will There Be a Doping Scandal?
One rider has been sent home with a doping ban this year, even though the rumour is he didn’t take the cocaine he tested positive for, but the guy who he took the blood plasma donation from did – sloppy! Lars Boom also went home sick, but with elevated blood levels that looked suspicious before Le Tour.
I’m often asked why cycling has so many people caught taking drugs. There are three reasons. The first is that it’s such a hard sport, imagine running two marathons a day for a week; people are tempted to take something to get them through the next day. The second is cultural. We’ve all heard about just how organised Lance Armstrong was in cheating, and how he used money, power and threats to keep on cheating, firing teammates who refused to join in, that kind of pressure is hard to resist, but now I’ve won as many Tours de France as Lance, and so have you.
The third and by far the most important reason is that cyclists are drug tested every day in competition, sometimes twice a day, and very frequently outside competition. This simply doesn’t happen in other sports. Tennis players, golfers, baseball players and footballers can all dope without fear of being revealed, because their sporting bodies don’t test, and when they do they like to give enough notice to allow a clean sample to be given.