Tour de France

Tour de France

I love the Tour de France. Really love it. I spend hours and hours (and hours) watching it each year – thanks to Versus – now NBC Sports and Eurosport. In 2010 as a way to introduce a few friends to the Tour de France, I wrote a Tour de France Primer explaining the basics of the Tour and making a few predictions. Of course I couldn’t stop there, before it was all said and done I had posted on every single stage, every rest day, previews of most of the stages and the various dramas of the Tour as they unfolded. By the time the Tour was over, I had written more than 30 separate blog posts. Like I said, I love the Tour de France.  If you love the Tour or are curious to see just how interesting (exciting) bike racing and the Tour de Fr can be – read on.

A Tour de France Guide

TDF 2010

TDF 2011

TDF 2012

TDF 2013


 *Below is 2010, above are links to each of the other Tour’s daily posts. 

Tour de France Guide:

“Professional bike racing is a team sport – not an individual one. Knowing that one fact will help you understand and enjoy the spectacle that is the Tour de France, the world’s most grueling sporting event. Bike racing may look like a bunch of guys riding for themselves, all trying to win. That’s not the case in a race like the Tour de France.” (read on)

Vive Le Tour de France:

“I have watched the TDF to the extent that I could since the mid-90′s. At that time watching the TDF amounted to watching a 30 minute recap on Sunday afternoon. I followed it in the newspaper when I could find it, but mainly I read about it afterwards in bicycling publications.” (read on)

How Will the 2010 TDF Play Out:

“The Tour will be decided either in the high mountains or the individual time trial. To win the Tour de France a rider has to be able to climb and time trial well. Some riders can do one of those well, only a few do both well. Those few are the riders that have a chance to win. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Barring accidents, drug test failures or other calamities the winner of the Tour will be decided between 3 maybe 4 riders. Of course, one of those guys getting hurt, losing a significant chunk of time, or sustaining a significant injury changes everything. And those things happen, so who knows.” (read on)

TDF Prologue Prediction:

“If Fabian does end up in Yellow tomorrow he could keep the Yellow jersey through Stage 6 and possibly even Stage 7, the beginning of the Alps. Stage 3 will be very interesting as they will be riding over the cobbles. That will be mayhem, although the Tour included the cobbles in 2004 I believe, Stage 3 this year covers more miles on them and they are later in the stage (affecting the finish). The cobblestones could give a number of riders trouble – Contador for one, he’s never raced on them.” (read on)

TDF 2010 Prologue:

Swiss rider, Fabian Cancellara, Spartacus on a bike, won the Prologue today in the 2010 Tour de France with a time of 10:00:48 beating Tony Martin, HTC-Columbia rider by 10 seconds. (read on)

Thoughts about 2010 Stage 1:

Two things. One, Mark Cavendish, two, watch out for the crosswinds. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 1 Mayhem:

There were more crashes today at the Tour de France than at a Nascar race. (read on)

Final Thoughts on Stage 1:

If tomorrow is anything like today the Tour de France will resemble roller derby more than cycling. Today was an anomaly in the number and severity of crashes but the first week of the Tour is always crash prone. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 2 – More Mayhem:

Stage 1 may have had a greater number of crashes, but the crashes of Stage 2 had a greater impact on the outcome of the stage as well as an impact on the general classification or GC. The rain, climbs and narrowness of the roads all added to the precariousness of the route. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 3 – Wow!:

Fans of the sport of cycling, fans of the Tour de France, will be talking about today’s stage for many years to come. Stage 3 was just thrilling to watch – certainly not for the riders to race, but for the viewers, it was pure thrill! (read on)

Postscript to Stage 3:

Watching Saxo Bank today was like watching the old U.S. Postal and Discovery teams. Those teams always took control of the race. They controlled the pace regardless of the stage because if you control the pace you control the race. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 4:

After the crash-fest of the first 3 stages the riders were ready for an uneventful stage and they got it. There’s not much to say about Stage 4: there was a breakaway, it didn’t make it, there was a bunch sprint and Petacchi won his second stage of the Tour. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 5:

Mark Cavendish the fastest man in the peloton with 6 stage wins last year and 4 stage wins in 2008, took Stage 5 with a vengeance. Then you saw all the frustration he has been feeling flow from him as he sobbed on the podium. With all the arrogance and defensiveness Cavendish has shown it’s been increasingly hard to like him, (not in a LeBron James sort of way but still, annoying), then you see him like he was today and you realize one thing. He’s young and he acts young at times. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 6/Stage 7 Preview:

Close, but no cigar. Mark Cavendish took his second straight stage win edging out Garmin-Transitions Tyler Farrar. That makes 12 stage victories in the Tour de France for Cavendish equaling the record of sprinter legend Erik Zabel. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 7/Stage 8 Preview:

Today was a very tough stage for the riders. Compared to the Alps and the Pyrenees, which are still to come, it was a relatively simple mountain stage. Not exactly easy, but not the type of stage you would expect to splinter the peloton. What did it wasn’t the difficulty of the mountains, but rather the grueling pace that Bbox set – and the heat. There are a lot of tired legs tonight and the only thing they can look forward to are the Alps tomorrow. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 8:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. A famous line that aptly describes Stage 8 for two of this year’s favorites to win the Tour – Lance Armstrong and Andy Schleck. Best of times for Andy Schleck, who won his first stage ever at the Tour de France by taking off from Contador so strongly that Contador couldn’t match the effort. Schleck is young and his Tour career is ahead of him. (read on)

TDF Rest Day/Stage 9 Preview:

Just a little heads up about the stage tomorrow – in one word – difficult. In a few more words – difficult, but not the type of stage that should dislodge any of the true contenders. With that said, some that look like contenders may lose significant time. Plus, as Stage 8 taught us, anything can happen to anyone – including true contenders. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 9 – And Then There Were Two:

Stage 9 confirmed what Stage 8 had alluded to – the Tour de France champion this year will be either defending champion, Alberto Contador or Saxo Bank’s, Andy Schleck. If those two stay healthy with no mishaps, it will come down to mano-a-mano in the Pyrenees. (read more)

TDF 2010 Stage 10:

Team Radio Shack very much needed the win – in what has been a very disappointing Tour thus far. Part of that is obviously Lance Armstrong losing any chance for a place on the podium in Paris. Much of it has to do with the overall performance of the Team. Coming in to the Tour Team Radio Shack was thought to be “scary strong”. (read more)

TDF 2010 Stage 11 Recap/Stage 12 Preview:

Did you know professional bike racing can be a contact sport? If you watched today’s stage, you do. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 12:

As expected Stage 12 was a difficult stage – actually brutal is more like it. Stage 12 had five categorized climbs, hot temperatures, a fast tempo and the steepest, albeit short, climb I recall ever seeing in the Tour. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 13/Stage 14 Preview:

Stage 13 covered some of the prettiest countryside of this year’s Tour. As far as the racing, it was sort of boring until the last climb when it was redeemed with an exciting and hard fought win by Tour veteran, Alexander Vinokourov (Astana). (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 14:

Stage 14 brought a few punches between the top two riders in the GC, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador – but no knockout punch. Or if you prefer football – it was a defensive battle with very little offense. With that said, there was a lot of offense by riders that are not trying to win it all. (read on)

Could it be Stage 15 for Lance:

Armstrong had hoped to win his 8th and final Tour, but that dream was over a week ago. His goal now is to win a stage – if he can. Tomorrow’s stage 15 would seem to be the perfect ending to Armstrong’s storybook Tour de France career. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 15:

Today was an unfortunate day in the Tour de France. Regardless of whether you favor Andy Schleck or Alberto Contador, it is unfortunate that a mechanical problem was the deciding factor in which rider is now wearing the yellow jersey. If you love the race more than you favor any one rider, which I do, then you want the riders alone to decide the outcome. Just as lovers of the Tour do not want unfair advantage gained by riders through drugs – a rider should not take the yellow jersey through unfair means or misfortune of a rival. (read on)

TDF Stage 15 Winner:

Although I wrote an earlier post on Stage 15, it would not be right to ignore the sensational ride today by Thomas Voeckler (Bbox). Voeckler is one of my favorite riders because he rides with courage and tenacity. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 16:

I woke up just before 5am, could not go back to sleep so I got up to watch the stage. There was excitement from the start. For starters, there was the heated debate about between Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen about Contador’s decision to race on with Schleck unable to due to a problem with his bike. (read on)

TDF Stage 17 D – Day:

Stage 17 is the Queen stage of this year’s Tour, but it is the do or die stage for Andy Schleck. To have any chance of winning in Paris, he has to take back the yellow jersey and the lead from rival Alberto Contador in Stage 17. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 17:

Schleck did everything he needed to do today, except take the yellow jersey back from Contador. Despite attacking, changing his pedaling rhythm, changing speed, Schleck could not shake Contador off his wheel. The fact is, it is even more amazing Contador could not shake Schleck off his. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 18/Stage 19 Preview:

The 2010 Tour de France is winding down. Today’s stage was a good transition, for me at least, to take us down a notch or two from the excitement and heroics of Stage 17. Good preparation too to prepare me for no more Tour after Sunday – always difficult for a few days – withdrawal pains. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 19:

There is only one winner of the Tour de France, but we have two champions – Alberto Contador & Andy Schleck. The war waged today between Contador and Schleck was similar to the war waged between the two on the Col de Tourmalet in terms of the magnitude of the battle and the way each gave everything he had. Contador was so spent both physically and emotionally, that he nearly passed out – and could not control the tears. (read on)

TDF 2010 Stage 20:

Today was the final stage of the 2010 Tour de France. As I noted in my post yesterday, the final stage of the Tour is part processional, part bike race. For the processional part of the stage, Alberto Contador and his Astana teammates enjoyed the fruits of their labor in the form of champagne. As is traditional, the yellow jersey winner and team rode together at the front of the peloton and toasted Contador on his victory. (read on)

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