Many countries have bicycling tours but the most famous of all of them is the Tour de France. Three things set this race apart from all the rest: money, size, and prestige. The Tour de France started on July 3rd with a total of twenty-two teams competing this year. In this competition there is an individual winner and a winning team. The race is held in stages and teamwork is very important because the race consists of groups of riders who bicycle together in groups called the peletons. To quote wikipedia: “The Tour de France, and other bicycle stage races, are decided by totalling the time each rider takes on the daily stages. Time can be added or subtracted from this total time as bonuses or penalties for winning individual stages or being first to the top of a climb or for infractions of the rules. The rider with the lowest overall time at the end of each stage receives a ceremonial yellow bicycling jersey and the right to start the next stage, usually the next day, of the Tour in the yellow jersey. The rider to receive the yellow jersey after the last stage in Paris, is the overall (or ultimate) winner of the Tour.” Of course, one of the most famous individuals to wear that yellow jersey is our fellow American, Lance Armstrong.
I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to bicycle through the French countryside experiencing the atmoshphere and geography of a proud, ancient and beautiful country. If you should wish to read further about the history and rules of the Tour de France we have several books on the subject as well as some books for the more modest bicyclist, like myself. Happy bicycling and have a fun and active rest of the summer. See you at the library!
~ Yvonne ~