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Old 06-03-08, 05:18 PM   #1
peabodypride
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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?
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Old 06-03-08, 08:36 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 06-04-08, 12:35 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 06-04-08, 01:47 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 06-04-08, 09:02 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 06-04-08, 11:46 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-01-08, 04:20 PM   #7
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Who are the favorites?
General
Mountains
Sprint
Young riders
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Old 07-01-08, 07:43 PM   #8
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+1 on Keith99's primer. Well done.
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Old 07-02-08, 12:36 AM   #9
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breakaway groups almost always get caught.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:47 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 07-02-08, 10:57 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 07-02-08, 11:31 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 07-02-08, 08:36 PM   #13
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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
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Old 07-05-08, 10:18 AM   #14
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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.
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.
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Old 07-05-08, 06:25 PM   #15
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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.
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Old 07-05-08, 06:30 PM   #16
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^ ^ ^ Nice, I knew most but not all of the sponsors.
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Old 07-05-08, 07:33 PM   #17
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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,)
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Old 07-05-08, 08:28 PM   #18
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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,)
If you really want to get drunk, drink whenever they comment on the castles and/or beautiful scenery (it is!).
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Old 07-06-08, 09:31 AM   #19
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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.
Very, very clever. Well Done!!!!
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Old 07-06-08, 07:47 PM   #20
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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!
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Old 07-07-08, 08:48 AM   #21
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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,)
nice! my contribution: whenever Phil describes a road as "undulating"
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Old 07-07-08, 09:52 AM   #22
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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.
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Old 07-07-08, 11:21 AM   #23
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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?
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Old 07-07-08, 11:40 AM   #24
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Flag of Bretagne
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Old 07-07-08, 11:50 AM   #25
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Flag of Bretagne
That explains it, thanks!
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