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Tour de France 2016: A Sneek Peak

Hello my friend 🙂  Montpellier has given us yet another beautiful day, although the wind is really starting to pick up here!  Guess what – we saw the Tour de France today!!!  I won’t pretend everyone is an advid Tour de France follower. Heck, I wasn’t until Guillaume started to compete in triathlons. He started to explore triathlons when Max was a baby, mostly because he initially thought it was a sport that wouldn’t require to much of his time … thinking he could lend the rest of his time for his budding family. Well, a decade later and he now has competed in so many triathlons I seriously have lost count. All the while, we have gradually come to learn more about cycling, naturally because it has part of the triathlon sport. And, so it goes, in our family we now tend to find ourselves get a little interested, and excited, to peek at what is going on in the Tour de France every year because we know more and more about the sport, and have further appreciation for the athletes that put so much into this particular competition.

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I won’t pretend everyone is an advid Tour de France follower.  Heck, I wasn’t until Guillaume started to compete in triathlons.  He started to explore triathlons when Max was a baby, mostly because he initially thought it was a sport that wouldn’t require to much of his time … thinking he could lend the rest of his time for his budding family.  Well, a decade later and he now has competed in so many triathlons I seriously have lost count.  All the while, we have gradually come to learn more about cycling, naturally because it has part of the triathlon sport.  And, so it goes, in our family we now tend to find ourselves get a little interested, and excited, to peek at what is going on in the Tour de France every year because we know more and more about the sport, and have further appreciation for the athletes that put so much into this particular competition.

As we have come to learn about this sport, there are some fun facts I thought would be fun, or interesting, to share:

  1. Did you know the Tour de France began back in 1903?  Yep, this competition is 113 years old!
  2. The entry fee a cyclist paid at the original Tour de France was 10 French francs, and the winning prize was 12,000 French francs, which at that time was worth almost 6 times the annual salary of the average worker.
  3. The first Tour de France had over 80 cyclists registered to participate, but come the end of the race only 24 finished!
  4. The Tour de France route changes every year.  The only parts of the route that remain consistent in the competitions are the fact the riders must go through the Pyrenees, the Alps, and they finish at the Champs Elysees.
  5. The only periods the Tour de France did not occur was during both WWI and WWII.
  6. The tour has 21-long day segments, which you may also commonly hear being referred as “stages”.  These stages take the cyclists through about 2,200 miles – CRAZY … That is like 1/4 of the driving I even do in one year!
  7. Teams compete in the Tour de France, and 20-22 teams typically compete.  Each team consists of 9 cyclists.
  8. Why yellow?  Apparently yellow was the color of paper L’Auto printed it’s papers and they continued with their branding elements when choosing yellow as the primary colors for the competition 🙂
  9. There are four (4) “classifications” the riders can compete to win throughout the race:
    1. General.  This one is the most popular because it is related to the infamous “Yellow Jersey”.  This classification is purely based on time, which aggregate is taken on each cyclist at the end of each stage.  The cyclist among them all with the lowest aggregate time wins the jersey and keeps it until another cyclist proves to have the lowest aggregate.  Originally, the cyclist was given a yellow armband, and it wasn’t until 1919 a yellow jersey was given instead of the armband.
    2. Mountains.  As you may be aware, there are a number of mountains included in the stages.  In 1933 the Tour de France decided to offer specific point awards to those riders who reached the top of these specific mountains and offering a separate, but distinguished, prize for those who seemed to be more gifted the uphill cycling skills!  And like the concept of the yellow jersey, the Mountains classification has a white jersey (with red polka-dots) that is given to the cyclist whom at the end of each stage has the most climbing points!
    3. Points.  On the 50th anniversary of the Tour de France (1953), a new classification was added: points.  This classification was added to reward sprint-style cyclists that tend to shine most during sprint routes of the tour.  The first 15 riders who reach a certain sprint point on each stage obtains certain points and these are tallied.  This jersey isn’t awarded until the completion of the tour, whereby they are given a green jersey.
    4. Young Rider.  For those 26 years young, there is a special classification just for you!  Identical to how the General Classification is tallied and evaluated, the same applies to the Young Rider Classification except only riders that are 26 years old, or younger, can qualify for this particular classification award.
  10. Originally, cyclists were not allowed to ride together but it was soon realized this caused large marginal gap in the completion of the tour, with the largest being from the original 1903 race of 2 hours and 49 minutes.  When teams were allowed to be formed this gross marginal gap was decreased, which helped with maintaining momentum for both the racers and the fans.

It seems we starting a tradition now, with having witnessed three Tour de France’s over the past ten years.  It wasn’t intentional; in fact, they all have been quite coincidental.  I remember the first one we witnessed when Guillaume and I were walking Max around town in the South of France when he was around 3 years old.  Max was on Guillaume’s shoulders and we began to hear a faint sound of horns of cars.  At first we thought perhaps it was just a wedding passing by, but as we turned around we saw the motorcade coming at such fast speed, and not far behind it were the cyclists coming … Almost at speeds I felt that were even faster than the cars.  It all happened so fast because within 2-3 minutes the entire experience was finished!  What was most surprising was that no one else was around … The streets weren’t lined with pedestrians, or fans, eager to root for their favorite team.  So, our first glimpse was quite a private privilege!

Max was the fortunate one to see the Tour de France, again, two years ago when spending a month in France with family.  It was a nice, quick, moment for him to think about his dad :). And, This year, Amelie and I were quite the lucky gals because the Tour de France is competing during the time we are still enjoying France … And, it happens to be passing thru Montpellier, quite close to where we are staying!  We let our Carpe Diem spirit take hold again … I mean, we would be crazy not to go and watch the competition when it is so close by!

 

The Penel ladies patiently waiting for the cyclists to make their appearance.

The Penel ladies patiently waiting for the cyclists to make their appearance.

 

Max was the fortunate one to see the Tour de France, again, two years ago when spending a month in France with family.  It was a nice, quick, moment for him to think about his dad :). And, This year, Amelie and I were quite the lucky gals because the Tour de France is competing during the time we are still enjoying France … And, it happens to be passing thru Montpellier, quite close to where we are staying!  We let our Carpe Diem spirit take hold again … I mean, we would be crazy not to go and watch the competition when it is so close by!

 

To Be Simply Happy: Tour de France

You will posted all along the routes of the Tour de France street signs offering details to the public as to when they should expect barriers and road conditions to change due to the race.

 

Does this look familiar? It should! This is Montpellier's own Arc de Triumphant, where you'll find Louis XIV's statue welcoming people to the city. This is also where the racers began their ride in kicking off the Tour de France today :)

Does this look familiar? It should! This is Montpellier’s own Arc de Triumphant, where you’ll find Louis XIV’s statue welcoming people to the city. This is also where the racers began their ride in kicking off the Tour de France today 🙂

 

You'll know the cyclists are in final preparations to begin their ride when the motorcade of support staff, media, and photography crew begin to make their decent.

You’ll know the cyclists are in final preparations to begin their ride when the motorcade of support staff, media, and photography crew begin to make their decent. Some of them really had fun with the crowd by honking their horns and taking selfie pictures from their windows, with the crowds as their background!

 

By absolutely coincidence you can see I got a picture of four important cyclists: Yellow Jersey, Green Jersey, White and Red Polka-Dot Jersey, and the Blue/White/Red Jersey holders (the Blue/White/Red one is only given to a French citizen who has the most points!)!!!

By absolutely coincidence you can see I got a picture of four important cyclists: Yellow Jersey, Green Jersey, White and Red Polka-Dot Jersey, and the Blue/White/Red Jersey holders (the Blue/White/Red one is only given to a French citizen who has the most points!)!!!

 

Sorry ... We had to have a selfie with the cyclists! This one is for Guillaume :)

Sorry … We had to have a selfie with the cyclists! This one is for Guillaume 🙂

 

Some of the motorcade does come after the cyclists, and as you can see they have to come quite prepared with spare parts in the event of a break down.

Some of the motorcade does come after the cyclists, and as you can see they have to come quite prepared with spare parts in the event of a break down.

 

You can find the last part of the group making their way thru the Arc de Triumphant.

You can find the last part of the group making their way thru the Arc de Triumphant.

 

It was such a good time going to the 2016 Tour de France.  It’s to bad we won’t be in Paris at the end of the final stage, but I am definitely happy to be taking a piece of happiness away with me from being there to cheer them on … See the crowd excited … And to see this all on the same day of Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day 🙂

 

And ... As you can see, Amelie wasn't disappointed in supporting the sport, or cyclists ... And nor was I! May the best cyclist win :)

And … As you can see, Amelie wasn’t disappointed in supporting the sport, or cyclists … And nor was I! May the best cyclist win 🙂

 

This entry was posted in: Travel

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Hello! I am a zestful and passionate tech-gal that is also doing my best to raise amazing children ... sips a Nespresso before tackling yoga ... enjoys more the sprint interval running kind of routine ... drools over travel ... is a new budding foodie and chef ... isn't afraid of a DIY, or getting hands dirty ... feels the thirst for learning should be a lifelong companion ... supports my hubby in his Ironman endeavors ... tries to spread as much happiness for others as possible ... OH, and never lets a day go by when I haven't smiled :)

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