TOUR DE France 2015 … A MOVEABLE FESTIVAL …

Summer in France will not be summer if this was not the season of the Tour de France cycling race. The 2015 edition – the 102nd – starts tomorrow (Saturday, July 4) and we here in France have been looking forward to it since July last year when the 2014 edition ended on Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées. […]

Tour de France 2015 route

Tour de France 2015 route

Summer in France will not be summer if this was not the season of the Tour de France cycling race.

The 2015 edition – the 102nd – starts tomorrow (Saturday, July 4) and we here in France have been looking forward to it since July last year when the 2014 edition ended on Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

The Tour starts in the Dutch city of Utrecht with a round-the-clock and will end in three weeks, on Sunday, July 26, on Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

One million people are expected in Utrecht for the flag to be lowered which will set off this most prestigious cycle race: toughest too. As for the people of Utrecht they are in raptures, drinking beer and eating French fries, having been preparing for the Tour for months.

This year 198 riders from 22 teams will cycle all of 3360 kms  divided into 21 stages.

Among the cyclist will be the 2013 winner Britain’ Chris Froome, born in Kenya and schooled in South Africa where he had started to cycle. So too will be the defending winner, Vincenzo Nibali and Spain’s two-time winner Alberto Contador, him of the gifted-meat debacle.

After the Utrecht against-the-clock-start the race will continue through Belgium and then into France.

On Wednesday, July 8 the Tour will be in the northern French town of Arras. Back in May, on a visit to Arras, gardeners were making sure that the road along which the cyclist would be pedalling looked spic and span for the world’s tv cameras. (Photos below.)

Ready for the Tour de France (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Ready for the Tour de France (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The Arras road cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

The Arras road cc Marilyn Z Tomlins)

The longest stage of the Tour will be the 201 kms (124.8 miles) in France from Bourg de Peage to Gap on Monday, July 20.

The shortest stage will be the 13.8 kms (8.57 miles) of the Utrecht against-the-clock tomorrow, Saturday, July 4.

This year’s favourite is Froome. His annual earnings come to €4 million.He is not though the highest earning cyclist. This is Contador whose annual earnings come to €5 million. Like Froom, the earnings of Nibali, last year’s winner, come to €4 million.

The heaviest cyclist is Alexander Kritsoff of the Katusha (Russia) team at 81 kilos.

The lightest is Rigoberto Uran Uran of the Etixx-Quick Step (Belgium) team at 54 kilos.

The tallest is Johann van Summeren of the AG2R (France) team at 1.97m.

The shortest is Armindo Fonseca of the Bretagne Seche Environnement (France) team at 1.68m.

The oldest is Gregory Henderson of the Lotto-Soudal (Belgium) team who was born in 1976.

The youngest is Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin of the MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa) team born in 1994.

My favourite is Peter Sagan of the Inkoff-Saxo (Russia ) team. He is a Slovak.He weighs 73 kilos and is 1.84m tall.

Should you be watching the Tour on television you will not be able to miss him. He will be wearing the Green Jersey for Best Sprinter.  Whether he will win the Tour this time I do not know: he can sprint, but he can’t climb. To win the Tour a cyclist must be able to climb and sprint.

The final stage of the 2012 Tour de France

The final stage of the 2012 Tour de France

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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