First off, le Tour de France should be fully respected, so stop snickering at the title. There are plenty of Tour de France parties out there and one day you’re gonna wanna woo a chick thats at one, so pay attention! This is the quick and dirty of it. Throw out a random, “but he’s no Zabel!” and you’ll be totally fine.
TdF History, Cliff Notes Style
Géo Lefèvre, a young publicist, suggested the idea to his editor in chief Henri Desgrange during a crisis conference for Desgrange’s failing paper. Reportedly, Geo was BS’ing when he suggested the (then) 6 day race but Henri loved it. With the eloquence you’d bestow upon a French editor, Henri said, “Si je comprends bien, petit Géo, vous suggérez un Tour de France” or for the rest of us: “As I understand it, petit Géo, you are suggesting a Tour de France.” Sometimes creating a sports culture is as easy as fumbling around for ideas.
Know These Years
1903 saw the first TdF at 6 stages and 2428 km, with winner Maurice Garin. In 1910 they started climbing, venturing into the Pyrenees and jumped to 15 stages at 4734 km. The yellow jersey was created in 1919. The TdF took a 7 year break during the Second World War, ending the hiatus in 1947. In 1969 the money started flowing, as national teams were ended and brand teams were instituted. Who knows what they supported back then before cell phones though. 1989 saw the closest finish between Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon, with LeMond beating Fignon by just eight seconds.
Know These People
Jacques Anquetil was the first rider to win le Tour 5 times.
Raymond Poulidor never donned the Yellow Jersey, but at the age of 40 (in 1976), he mounted the event podium for an eighth time.
Bernard Hinault is the last Frenchman to win the TdF, back in 1985
Miguel Indurain became the first to win le Tour 5 times in a row by 1995.
Before Lance there was Richard Virenque and the Festina Team, their internal doping network rocked the Tour.
Erik Zabel holds the record for most Green jerseys won.
Lance Armstrong, who previously held the record for most TdF wins at 7 until 2012 when he was stripped of his titles after evidence showed he used performance enhancing drugs.
Yellow (maillot jaune) – This jersey signifies who everyone is chasing. This jersey is awarded to the overall leader after each stage and is worn by the general classification winner at the end of the tour. I’m sure you know this, so skip to the other colors below.
Green (maillot vert) – This is the Sprinter’s jersey. Points are given at each stage to the first 10-25 riders that cross the finish line. The amount of sprint points awarded depends on the day’s course (flat courses produce more points than mountain terrain) and in what place the rider finishes that day.
White with Red Polka Dots (maillot à pois rouges) – For the King of the Mountains. Points for the first rider to reach the crest of designated hills and mountains! Yes, mountains are graded according to steepness, length, and position on the course, and points correspond accordingly.
White (maillot blanc) – This goes to the overall best young rider (under 25). Easy.
Know This 2015 Info
The race this year is 2,262 miles long and is over a 20 day span. Yes, the race has traveled through other countries and isn’t solely in France with this year’s race starting in the Netherlands. In stage 3, there was a pretty gnarly crash that halted the race for 20 minutes and took out 20 riders. The race leader Fabian Cancellara fractured his spine in the crash, handing the yellow jersey to now Stage 11 overall leader Chris Froome of Team Sky. And yes, Team Sky is classified as #1.