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  1. #1
    No plan. peabodypride's Avatar
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    Merged: TdF Newbie Questions!!!

    Hi, I live in the SSFG forum but I'm going to likely be jobless this summer and I figure I might have fun following the TdF as closely as possible. I am not a road racer, so what would you guys suggest for an outsider to begin understanding the different teams, past history, and other important matter to really understand this year's race?

  2. #2
    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    I highly recommend renting/buying this movie from somewhere that has it:
    http://www.amazon.com/Tour-France-Of.../dp/B000G97R6U

    Or buy a book. I saw an awesome one in Borders last week and it's hundreds of pages about the Tour and it's history. It's hard to miss, so that is a good place to look. Choose the one you like best:
    http://www.borders.com/online/store/...sku=1934030252
    http://www.borders.com/online/store/...sku=0743449924
    http://www.borders.com/online/store/...sku=1594862303

    I also learned a lot by going through the cyclingnews.com archives for July.
    The quest for success: Collegiate Nationals:
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    (Updated daily 3/26-4/4-: North Carolina training camp)

  3. #3
    Miles over Matter spoke50's Avatar
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    Bob Roll has some pretty entertaining books about the tour for a reader looking for something a little on the lite side.
    [SIGPIC]http://www.bikeforums.net/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=115093&dateline=1207511414[/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    There is lots of stuff on the internet. The problem is if you try googling on "Tour de France" you will mainly get so much recent stuff and stuff trying to sell things yuo won't get that much that is useful.

    Wouldn't be surprised if Wiki has something useful.

    My little primer:

    First thing to remember is the TDF or any major tour is not just about the yellow jersey. Oh that is the big prise, but it is not everything. In fact things that are nothing matter! Every team is sponsored, the sponsors want something for their money. The resources of the teams are very different. What the sponsors want is publicity. The best being to win.

    The big prizes are:

    Yellow Jersey - Basically elapsed time for one rider. If riders finish in a pack they get the same time. There have been time bonuses, not sure if there are this year.

    Points (sprinters) Jersey - For points awarded for placing at the end of a stage or other desiganted places. The stage end points are the big points and not all stages are equal. Flat stages count more!

    King of the Mountians - Points awarded at the top of desiganted climbs. Not all climbs are equal. Not all 'peaks' count. Early on they look for any little hill to count, in the real mountians those never count. A climb that is killer may not count if the downhill or flat after it is short and things start up again soon, it is all considered one climb.

    White - Best young rider. Just like yellow but riders under 25.

    Team - Elapsed time for the first 3 riders on a team for each stage. This is NOT the same as your best 3 riders. Team is not nearly as important as the individual awards.

    Stage wins - Yes wining a stage is an award in itself and is important.

    For minor teams just getting some of your riders off the front, so that the anouncers keep saying your team name for 2-3 hours is a win! Wearing any of the above jersies is a good thing. Top teams may not care early, but for lessor teams putting someone in a jersey, anywhere in the race is a win.

    Teams or may co-opperate. For example the team with the yellow jersey rider is expected to try to keep it and if riders are off the front it usually falls to them to pull the riders back. But if they get close near the end then teams with good sprinters will help or take over the work. They want their sprinter to have a chance to win hte stage, that can not happen if 4 riders off the front have already finished.

    Let's look what happens with a contender and a few non-contenders who are off the front. The non-contenders care about just the stage win. The contender cares about time. To win the you want others to do the work so you are fresh and outsprint them at the end. In this case the contender may well sacrifice himself to keep others working as a group.

    A simple case if just 2 riders, contender and non-contender in the mountians. They may make a deal, both work and the non-contender gets the stage win. Both win with this. Contender gets more time and non-contender gets the stage win. (Don't break a deal, riders have long memories).

    Listen to the announcers, they get a lot right and expalin a lot of this. But think for yourself.

    Oh and a key I have found for finding stuff on the internet. Search by a group of rider names. Merckx, Anquetil, Coppi works pretty well.

    You really can figure things out if you just learn a little and then think 'how would I feel' in a riders position. Would you work you butt off so some rider on another team can win?

    Oh and a lot depends on tradition. If you are in a group you are expected to work if you can. But if you are in a group off the front and you are on the team of a contender your job for your team is to 'cover' that group. Others will not expect you to work. They won't like you being there, but they won't hold it against you. If you are in a group chasing a group off the front if yuor team has a rider in the group ahead you are not expected to work.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    as someone who is a "recent" TdF newb (4 years watching maybe?) i'll say that i just started watching. it wasn't the best, but if Lance did nothing else (and i don't want to start any discussions or arguments...) he brought cycling into the mainstream minds of americans, and the TdF more than anything. the announcers do a good job of acknowledging that there are a lot of people who are going to tune in but don't know what the heck is going on. Phil, Bob, and Paul do a great job of describing what's what's happening in a way that is understandable to non-roadies. it took a few days to figure everything out, but that's fine. after a few years i actually get a little tired of them telling me what everything is, but it's all good.
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Le Tour by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. THE book to read. Don't bother with Roll's cretinous commentary -- don't flame me, I find him entertaining and occasionally (very occasionally) incisive.

    While I recommend Wheatcroft's book, Phil and Paul are so good at commentating, and at directing their mind-bogglingly consistent stream of verbiage at every level of listener (from expert on down to neophyte) that you needn't worry too much about preparation. And then you've got that twit Andreu (sp?) who YELLS into that microphone in that painfully annoying accent of his -- just bear with him, he doesn't last long on the broadcasts. And don't get me started on Trout-wig. Laughingly embarrassing, plays the stooge to perfection. Except there's no Groucho around (sorry, Roll doesn't measure up) to keep rhythm with his inane commentary.

    So, yeah, Le Tour is the best primer, the author presuming he is addressing an intelligent human being (albeit Wheatcroft's questionable classism and frottage with anti-Celt/Catholic sentiments is a little unnerving). But you don't need it. The next step is to tune out everyone except for Phil and Paul, who are gold. And that woman they brought on this year....gawd.
    I'd be doing myself, and you guys, a disservice if I didn't ride the hell out of this thing!

  7. #7
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Who are the favorites?
    General
    Mountains
    Sprint
    Young riders
    Enjoy the ride.
    Bianchi Volpe 2006; Fuji Tahoe 1990

  8. #8
    Senior Member Oroluk Lagoon's Avatar
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    +1 on Keith99's primer. Well done.
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  9. #9
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    breakaway groups almost always get caught.

  10. #10
    convert TommyL's Avatar
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    The folks who win the first few stages on the flat are not the folks who will be contending for yellow. That happens in the mountains.

  11. #11
    Duathlete indygreg's Avatar
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    I started cycling Nov 06. Last TdF was the first I watched. I did not have any information coming in to speak of . . . you do not need it. I fell in love instantly and hated when the 3 weeks were up. I am going to be gone for a week this year for a family vacation to a place that has like 13 channel basic cable and no internet. Yeah - I am not happy about that. But I will Tivo everything and also will hope my broadband PC card works so I can follow some stuff on-line.

    The announcers are very good at explaining things. In reality, they have a lot of time to fill, so it is easy to explain things. You will feel like an expert when it is over.
    Run, Bike, Run.

  12. #12
    Arschgaudi Mayonnaise's Avatar
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    The TDF is one of the times in the year when I fall in love all over again with my TiVO. You'll notice Vs has coverage all day but the only one you really want is the first, live coverage of the day. This is the one where Phil and Paul call the race and Bob adds color.

    I never liked the expanded, prime time coverage.

    There's lots of commercials. WIth Tivo you can FF through them. It cuts viewing time to the simple essentials: bike racing. Plus, with Tivo you can make your own schedule.
    Work To Eat
    Eat To Live
    Live To Ride
    Ride To Work

  13. #13
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Here is a list of favorites for the general
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto),
    Damiano Cunego (Lampre),
    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne),
    Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and
    Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo).

    Outside favourites for the overall title include
    Italian Riccardo Riccň (Saunier Duval-Scott),
    Frenchman Christophe Moreau (Agritubel),
    Colombian Mauricio Soler (Barloworld),
    Spaniards Samuel Sánchez and Haimar Zubeldia (both Euskaltel-Euskadi),
    Luxemburger Kim Kirchen (Team Columbia),
    Czech and recent Tour de Suisse winner Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), and
    Belgian Stijn Devolder (Quick Step).

    Sprinters
    Baden Cooke (Aus), 30, Barloworld
    Thor Hushovd (N), 30, Crédit Agricole
    Robbie McEwen (Aus), 36, Silence-Lotto
    Erik Zabel (G), 38, Milram
    Jimmy Casper (F), 30, Agritubel
    Oscar Freire (Sp), 32, Rabobank
    Robbie Hunter (SA), 31, Barloworld
    Gert Steegmans (B), 27, Quick Step

    Outside chance to win a sprint stage
    Mark Cavendish (GB), 22, Team Columbia
    Sébastien Chavanel (F), 27, Française des Jeux
    Gerald Ciolek (G), 21, Team Columbia
    Robert Förster (G), 30, Gerolsteiner
    Enjoy the ride.
    Bianchi Volpe 2006; Fuji Tahoe 1990

  14. #14
    Duathlete indygreg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayonnaise View Post
    The TDF is one of the times in the year when I fall in love all over again with my TiVO. You'll notice Vs has coverage all day but the only one you really want is the first, live coverage of the day. This is the one where Phil and Paul call the race and Bob adds color.

    I never liked the expanded, prime time coverage.

    There's lots of commercials. WIth Tivo you can FF through them. It cuts viewing time to the simple essentials: bike racing. Plus, with Tivo you can make your own schedule.
    Yeah, Tivo is almost required (or other DVR). During the week I watch it all when I get home (the morning broadcast). On the weekend, I try to wait long enough that I can still FF through most of the commercials - in fact, I call the end of the green bar (tivo - that shows where it is live) the breakaway and where I am at (FF during commercials) is the peloton. It always catches the breakaway.
    Run, Bike, Run.

  15. #15
    fix
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    yeahh, becky fix's Avatar
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    Here is how you prepare for the tour.

    Wake up. Throw on some Columbia clothing and step out onto your Quickstep kitchen floor. Turn on your gas stove (of which the metal is manufactured by Agritubel) and fire up that Liquigas to cook your oatmeal. Add some Milram milk to that oatmeal, it's much more delicious. All that cooking is making your house hot; turn on your Saunier-Duval air conditioning system. Some Gerolsteiner water will help cool you off too, so you can head to the office and try to figure out your IT problems with CSC. Make sure you don't bump your Skoda or Saab into that Lampre steel street sign post as you back out of your drive. After a hard day at work, head to the bank and withdraw some of your hard-earned money! You can choose Credit Agricole, Caisse D'Epargnes, Ag2r, or Rabobank. Good think you have all that money left over from when you won the Francaise de Jeux lottery. Make sure you call your wife on your Bouyges Telecom or Euskatel Euskadi phone (filled with Cofidis credits, of course), you're going out to dinner with those brand management boys from Barloworld. Jump in your Skoda (or Saab) and punch "Chipotle" into your Garmin, you're having le Burrito, s'il vous plait.
    soh-CAh-T-oa-meter 0 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ X ~ ~ pi

  16. #16
    Cheers! 2wheeled's Avatar
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    ^ ^ ^ Nice, I knew most but not all of the sponsors.

  17. #17
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    How to prepare for the Tour? Get plenty of beer and play the Phil and Paul drinking games (i.e. chug whenever Paul says X is a great rider; chug whenever Paul says the elastic has snapped, chug whenever Paul says he's reaching deep into his suitcase of courage, etc, etc,)
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  18. #18
    Red light runner Gonzlobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    How to prepare for the Tour? Get plenty of beer and play the Phil and Paul drinking games (i.e. chug whenever Paul says X is a great rider; chug whenever Paul says the elastic has snapped, chug whenever Paul says he's reaching deep into his suitcase of courage, etc, etc,)
    If you really want to get drunk, drink whenever they comment on the castles and/or beautiful scenery (it is!).

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by fix View Post
    Here is how you prepare for the tour.

    Wake up. Throw on some Columbia clothing and step out onto your Quickstep kitchen floor. Turn on your gas stove (of which the metal is manufactured by Agritubel) and fire up that Liquigas to cook your oatmeal. Add some Milram milk to that oatmeal, it's much more delicious. All that cooking is making your house hot; turn on your Saunier-Duval air conditioning system. Some Gerolsteiner water will help cool you off too, so you can head to the office and try to figure out your IT problems with CSC. Make sure you don't bump your Skoda or Saab into that Lampre steel street sign post as you back out of your drive. After a hard day at work, head to the bank and withdraw some of your hard-earned money! You can choose Credit Agricole, Caisse D'Epargnes, Ag2r, or Rabobank. Good think you have all that money left over from when you won the Francaise de Jeux lottery. Make sure you call your wife on your Bouyges Telecom or Euskatel Euskadi phone (filled with Cofidis credits, of course), you're going out to dinner with those brand management boys from Barloworld. Jump in your Skoda (or Saab) and punch "Chipotle" into your Garmin, you're having le Burrito, s'il vous plait.
    Very, very clever. Well Done!!!!

  20. #20
    fix
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    yeahh, becky fix's Avatar
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    The quickest way to learn what's going on is to just watch the entire broadcast every day. Set up the trainer in front of the TV and get a little spin in while you watch the last hour. If you finish with your HR below 150, you have more discipline than me. I can't watch those guys dial it up to three times 400 watts and NOT push it myself!
    soh-CAh-T-oa-meter 0 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ X ~ ~ pi

  21. #21
    Senior Member kenshinvt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    How to prepare for the Tour? Get plenty of beer and play the Phil and Paul drinking games (i.e. chug whenever Paul says X is a great rider; chug whenever Paul says the elastic has snapped, chug whenever Paul says he's reaching deep into his suitcase of courage, etc, etc,)
    nice! my contribution: whenever Phil describes a road as "undulating"

  22. #22
    Sua Ku rollin's Avatar
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    The best way to prepare for the tour is to train really hard and find a really good strong team to support you.

  23. #23
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    I understand things a little better from reading this section, but I still don't know what the black and white versions of the US flag are supposed to represent. It must be important to a bunch of people, because I've seen a bunch of them, but I've got no idea what the symbolism is there. What's it mean?

  24. #24
    Senior Member pilam99's Avatar
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    Flag of Bretagne

  25. #25
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilam99 View Post
    Flag of Bretagne
    That explains it, thanks!

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