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18 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Tour De France

 

Hooked on the Tour De France? So are we! Last week, we looked at Champagne Bikes On A Lemonade Budget, so if you’re feeling inspired and want to get into cycling (without breaking the bank!), make sure you check it out…

But for now, as it rolls into it’s 18th stage, we’ve compiled a list of 18 facts that you probably didn’t know about The Tour De France!

1.  Organising The First Tour

The first ever Tour De France was organised by Frenchman, Henri Desgrange, a keen and talented cyclist, who set 12 track cycling records.

2. The First Winner

The first Tour De France was won by Italian-born Frenchman, Maurice Gain. Completing the event at an average of 25km per hour, Gain picked up a handsome 6,075 francs for his victory.

In 1904, he went on to win the second Tour De France, only to have his title stripped from him, after being accused of cheating, along with 8 other riders.

3.The First Yellow Jersey

Eugene Christophe was the first to receive the prestigious yellow jersey in 1919.

4. And talking about 1919…

Out of the 67 that started the race, only 10 riders finished the 13th edition of the Tour De France!

5. How Many Miles??

You think the cyclists of today’s Tour De France have it hard? Try being a cyclist in the 1926 race – they had to cover an eye watering 3570 miles, making this year’s total of 2200 seem like a walk (or cycle!) in the park.

6. Back & Better Than Ever…

After the Second World War halted the Tour De France for 7 years, in 1947 the race returned as a symbol the nation’s drive and enthusiasm.

7. Drinking & Riding – Probably not the best idea…

But up until the 60’s, it wasn’t uncommon to see participants having a beer or two. It was thought that alcohol may numb the pain, but this was later banned, as it was thought to count as a stimulant.

8. We’ve got to talk about Jacques Anquetil…

You’ve probably heard of his name before, but did you know that he was the first cyclist to win the Tour De France 5 times? His first victory came in 1957, and his following victories came in 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964.

9. And let’s not forget about Eddy Merckx…

Eddie also won The Tour De France a staggering 5 times, but also has the title of most stages wins…34 to be exact!

10. 36 Wins For France

France have picked up a mighty 36 wins since the tour started, making them the nation with the most victories.

But although it seemed to be going extremely well for the host nation, a Frenchman hasn’t won the Tour De France since 1985, when Bernaud Hinault won the 72nd edition.

11. Just 8 seconds in it

In 1989, Greg Lemond won the Tour De France, with Laurent Fignon coming in at a close second, just 8 seconds behind…so close, yet so far!

12. Let’s talk about 1999 to 2005

If you’ve seen the Tour De France winner’s table, you may see that between 1999 and 2005, there is no winner listed. That’s because the results for the 7 years were voided after Lance Armstrong had all of his victories taken away after allegations of doping surfaced.

13. The Year of The Brits!

Bradley Wiggins became the first ever British man to win The Tour De France in 2012. His team mate, Chris Froome continued the winning streak for the UK, winning the 100th edition of the tour in 2013.

14. The year of the women…

…well, kind of. Although women aren’t allowed to compete in the Tour De France, in 2014, an elite, one day race called ‘La Course’ was held for women.

This year, event organisers have decided to stretch ‘La Course’ into a 2-day race, to coincide with the 18th and 20th stages of the Tour De France.

15. Calorie Burning

On an ‘easy stage’ of the tour, a rider will burn around 4,000 calories, but on a grueling mountain stage, you’re looking at more like 7,000!

16. Fuelling The Ride

Riders consume around 6,000-8,000 calories a day during the tour, and this is made up of both liquid and solid food.

17. Rest days…who needs em’?

Riders have two rest days during the 23-day competition, but the majority of riders still get out on their bikes and ride for a few hours. This is to make sure they flush out the lactic acid and keep their mind focused and their eyes on the prize.

The rest days do however allow for a little R&R – riders are permitted to have a lay in until 9 or 10am, and have afternoon naps scheduled.

18. Winning The Big Bucks

Let’s get to the most important bit…the prize money!

In this year’s Tour De France, the overall winner of the Tour De France is set to earn a whopping 500,000€, with second place scooping 200,000€, and third place, 100,000€.

So with just two days to go, who have you got your money on?

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Bikes Buying Guide Road Bikes

A Handy Guide to the Different Types of Road Bikes

With the huge focus on cycling in the past few years, and more and more people getting into the sport it can be confusing to navigate the various buzzwords that come with the sport. What’s the difference between a cyclocross and a performance road bike?  Who knew there was more than one type of road bike?! Which bikes are better for commuting, hybrid or a road? Don’t worry we have put together this handy guide to help you pick and choose the right one. So if you want to know your TT bikes from your touring bikes grab a pen and some paper and let’s get to it!

Performance Road Bikes

First up, the performance road bikes, these bikes are generally very sleek and made to be as light as possible. These fellas are made to go fast and get that one up on your opponent.  The performance road bike frames can be made from the usual bike materials: aluminium, and steel, each giving a different feel for the rider. Whilst the upper echelons of high-end performance bikes will be made from carbon fibre, which reduces the weight of the bike considerably. Stiff frames are common, giving responsive handling that will give you the edge on other riders. Cutting through the air is the name of the game and the position of the rider is an important aspect. With these bikes, the lower front end puts the rider in an aerodynamic position, allowing a faster, smoother ride. If you expect to find yourself competing, get yourself on one of these and get over that finish line.700 M CAAD Optimo Disc Tiagra

What we recommend under £1000: Cannondale CAAD Optimo Disc Tiagra – 2017 Road Bike – £949.99 Replacing the old CAAD8, the CAAD Optimo has the same geometry as the more expensive CAAD12, but is made from a lower grade aluminium. Not to put you off, though, this bike has got it where it counts (look at those disc brakes)!

Sportive Bikes

If you want a more relaxed version of a road racer, we have the sportive road bikes. Designed for long distance riding, they accommodate slightly wider tyres, which give far more grip and comfort. Sportive bike frames have been built with more vertical compliance, allowing for a more comfortable ride over extreme terrain such as the world famous Paris-Roubaix. Slightly heavier than a road racer, this bike has it where it counts, with lower gearing helping the rider get up those big hills. If you want to push yourself to go further than before, sportive bikes are the one for you. They are your stead for your endurance rides.cannondale-synapse-disc-tiagra-2017-road-bike

What we recommend under £1000: Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra – 2017 Road Bike – £  The Synapse Disc Tiagra is built for versatility, combining a sturdy and lightweight frame allowing you to push yourself up those climbs and take it easy on the descents. This is a perfect entry level road bike.

Cyclocross Bikes

Cyclo-cross bikes are the tougher, muddier cousin of the road racer. Cyclo-cross is mostly a winter discipline, with riders having to tackle an off-road course, getting extremely muddy and a touch of hurdles. Due to the obstacles on the course, dismounting and carrying their bike over with a quick remount is a common feature of the winter races. With this in mind, the more frequent frame materials are aluminium and carbon, offering a lightweight bike to pick up whilst leaping over a stray fallen log. Cyclo-cross bikes that are used for the race circuits tend to be slightly higher off the ground than road racers, this gives them great mud clearance! These bikes are probably the best if you want to feel that crisp winter air, don’t mind getting a bit dirty and especially if you like jumping over things in your path.
ridley-x-bow-20-disc-2016-cyclocross-bike

What we recommend under £1000: Ridley X-Bow 20 Disc – 2016 Cyclocross Bike – £649.99 The main workhorse of the Ridley fleet, the X-Bow is ideal for the introduction to Cyclo-cross. Though also a great one for commuting!

Touring Bikes

The Bear Grylls of the road bikes, the Touring bike is made for the great outdoor adventure. Pack up everything (including the kitchen sink) and leave your daily commute behind. Touring frames are built to last, with wider gaps between tubes allowing for maximum luggage space. With rear racks, mudguards and all sorts of saddlebags, the tyres of a Touring bike are designed to carry all that weight and more! The frame material for touring bikes, generally are made of steel which is easily repairable no matter where you are in the world! Disc brakes are becoming more common, which gives you a fair bit of control in all sorts of weather you will be encountering. This is the bike you take to ride from Barrow, Alaska to Rio Grande, Argentina!ridgeback-voyage-2016-road-bikeWhat we recommend under £1000: Ridgeback Voyage – 2016 Road Bike – £799.99  This bike is built to carry everything. With a classic look, full-length mudguards and a fitter pannier rack this bike will carry you all the way to Timbuktu.

TT – Time Trial/Triathlon

If you want a bike that is faster than a Lamborghini and is pushing on the speed of light, then you’ll probably have to keep looking. If you’re looking for a bike built to go as fast as possible with the most aerodynamic design, then a TT bike is for you! The majority of these bad boys are made from carbon, leaving no space for anything to weigh them down. All brake and gear cables are routed through the tubes themselves, taking away anything that is going to slow it down. The rider sits low and extended over the bike, with aero bars extending out the front for cutting through the wind. Rounding off the set up is carbon fibre rims, slicing through the air with very little resistance and using up less energy. One to pick up if you’re thinking of breaking some land speed records.cube-aerium-hpa-pro-2016-tt-bike

What we recommend just over £1000: Cube Aerium HPA Pro – 2016 TT Bike – £1199.20 Now I know this is over £1000, but really the lower end of the TT bikes generally don’t go below a grand. The Cube Aerium is built for speed, and if you have the need for speed then this is a good place to start! It combines a lightweight frame with an aerodynamic design to cut through the air and push you faster and faster.

Hybrid Bikes

Not technically a road bike and not technically a mountain bike either. Hybrid bikes are the Frankenstein monster of cycling world, taking the best bits from the road (the large/light frames and the 700c wheels) and mountain (the flat handlebars and the disc brakes) disciplines and combining them into a smooth, fast commuter’s dream. The frames, mostly made from aluminium, allow a good combination of strength and the advantage of being lightweight (useful for carrying all your work essentials). These are no nonsense bikes; not something you’ll be using in the Tour De France with, but getting you to and from work. The rider sits more upright on a hybrid, with comfort and more importantly safety within traffic in mind.charge-grater-3-2016-road-bike

What we recommend under £1000: Charge Grater 3 – 2016 Hybrid Bike – £679.99 Simple gearing, full length mudguards, and an aluminium frame, the Charge Grater is one of the perfect commuting bikes. Nothing complicated, just get on and ride!