The Tour de France got underway with a great start over the weekend! A short individual time-trail on Saturday finished with a new Tour de France time-trial speed record, set by Dennis Rohan, who averaged 34.5 mph! For comparison’s sake | I did a time-trial a few years ago, about the same distance and roughly the same amount of hills and turns | I averaged a little more than 25 mph. That’s not to say that I’m anywhere near the bike racer that we see in the Tour, but I will say that I was in pretty good shape at the time and I was one of the top finishers that day.
Day two of the tour was on Sunday and we already saw a change in the Yellow Jersey. Fabian Cancellara finished the stage in 3 hours, 44 minutes and 1 second to take the Yellow.
Which brings me to the point of today’s blog | the battle for the Tour de France Jerseys…
While the GC winner gets to wear the Yellow Jersey and gets all the attention, there are other competitions going on as well…
Polka-Dot Jersey: Awarded to the “King of the Mountains” and as you would guess- it goes to the best climber on the tour. Points are awarded with each big climb, at the end of each day the rider with the most cumulative King of the Mountain points is awarded the Polka-Dot Jersey.
White Jersey: This is the award for the best young rider- 25 & under. An American won the White Jersey in 2012- Tejay van Garderen from the BMC Racing Team – he was also 5th overall! Another American, Andrew Talansky, was second in the competition in 2013…and last year, yet another American placed in the top 10 | when Ben King was #8 in the competion. Hopefully this means good things for the future of American cycling.
Green Jersey: This is awarded to the points leader. Points are awarded every day for various things along the way…mid-race sprints, hill-climbs, stage wins, etc. Again, the Green Jersey is awarded each day to the man with the most cumulative points.
Yellow Jersey: This is the big one. The one that gets all the attention. It’s said that a Frenchman who wears the Yellow Jersey for one day of one Tour de France will never have to buy another drink as long as they live. It’s a BIG deal. The Yellow Jersey is actually quite simple. It’s the overall race leader- the guy with the lowest cumulative time when you add up the times from all the days of racing. So, if I spent 3:45 on the course yesterday and 5:23 on the course today, my cumulative time would be 9:08 (if my math is right)- if that’s lower than all the others, I’m wearing the Yellow Jersey.
This all gets a little confusing with some of the nit-picky rules. Like the fact that everyone crossing the finish line in a big pack are all given the same time. Like, if there’s a crash within the last 3k of the race, anyone involved in the crash or affected by the crash is given the same time- no matter when they cross the line. So, if the guy in the Yellow Jersey can just stay with that main pack, he’s got a pretty good shot at keeping the Yellow- at least during the early stages of the race. Once they get into mountain stages (when that pack breaks up a bit) and individual time trials (when it’s truly INDIVIDUAL), he’ll have to watch some of his competitors a bit closer and work to stay with other top riders if they sprint ahead.
As I mentioned before, the opening weekend of racing ended with Fabian Cancellara wearing the Yellow Jersey. This is kind of cool, in that Fabian races for the Trek Factory Racing team. And there’s one of the first Wisconsin connections to the Tour de France.
More local connections to the race next time.