Welcome to class one of TdF101.
Are you feeling a little lost as you navigate your way through the build up to the Tour de France?
Are you not really sure what this magnificent three week cycling tour through France is really about, but you know that somewhere deep down inside, you are just waiting to fall in love with this great sport?
Well, you’re in the right place because over the coming days I’ll be talking you through, or holding your hand if you like, to the joyous spectacle that you are going to spend the next three weeks sitting up late for.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
What exactly is the Tour de France and what is a Grand Tour?
There are three Grand Tours, the Giro (Tour of Italy), the Tour de France (Tour of France) and the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain)
The Giro has been already been completed and if you have until reading this article been unaware of the Giro, then I suggest you block next May out of your calendar and sit up for three weeks watching, what I think is possibly the best of the three Grand Tours.
The Vuelta will be raced in August and once you complete your first TdF, you’ll be more than well prepared to spend some time watching this feast of Spanish climbing. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get to see an Amada of Spanish riders all ganging up on any foreigner who thinks they’re going to take victory.
There is no doubt that the Tour de France is the most famous of all the Grand Tours. Like the other Grand Tours, the TdF will take three weeks to complete and to celebrate this years 100th Edition, the race will be raced 100% in France.
Riders will cover the entire country in stages that are essentially classified as being for the sprinters (flat), medium mountains and for the mountain goats of the peloton.
Oh, and there is a time trial or two thrown in for good measure.
In just a few short hours we all be glued to our television sets watching the world’s most famous and romantic cycling race.
Join me tomorrow for Class Two: Jerseys and Classifications
Viva Le Tour!