Nice (AP) – The 107th Tour de France starts on Saturday for the professional riders in Nice. The ABCs of the Tour de France:
A – Prelude: For the second time since 1981, the tour starts in Nice. The capital of the Côté d’Azur has a great cycling tradition. Nice has been a stage of the Tour de France 37 times and the traditional Paris-Nice tour always ends in the city in the spring.
B – mountain stages: 8 of the 21 stages take place in the high mountains, plus there is a mountain time trial at La Planche des Belles Filles. The 107th tour is made for climbing specialists. The stage destination is four times on the mountain: Orcières-Merlette, Col de la Loze, Puy Mary and Grand Colombier.
C – Combatif du Jour: The most combative driver is honored every day and may wear a red start number the following day.
D – Roof of the tour: In the 17th stage, the goal is on the 2304 meter high Col de la Loze and thus the highest point of the tour. The mountain is on the program for the first time and has slopes of around 20 percent.
E – Individual time trial: There is only one individual time trial this year, and it also takes place in the mountains. On the penultimate day, the battle against the clock is 36 kilometers to La Planche des Belles Filles.
F – Favorites: A duel is expected between Colombian defending champion Egan Bernal and Slovenian Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic. Both had made the strongest impression beforehand.
G – Credits: With eight mountain rankings there are again bonus seconds to be won this year, which should be interesting for the contenders for the overall victory. Eight, five and two seconds are then given to the top three climbers.
H – Hostesses: The jersey winners will no longer be framed by two hostesses this year. The organizers bowed to the criticism. In the future, a woman will be replaced by a man. In times of Corona there are no more kisses on the cheek.
I – Indurain, Miguel: The Spaniard was the only professional cyclist to win the Tour five times in a row. Besides Indurain, Jacques Anquetil (France), Eddy Merckx (Belgium) and Bernard Hinault (France) are also listed as five-time winners. Lance Armstrong’s seven successes were canceled due to his doping violation.
J – Jumbo-Visma: The Dutch racing team turned out to be the strongest team in the run-up to the Tour de France. With captain Primoz Roglic, the team was able to break through Ineos’ dominance and take the overall victory for the first time.
K – Caravan: More than two hours before the driver’s field, the advertising caravan traditionally provides a bit of a carnival atmosphere. The Caravane publicity has been part of the tour program since 1930. This year it is only half as long because of the corona pandemic.
L – Last stage: The final of the tour traditionally takes place on the Champs Élysées in Paris.
M – Teams: A total of 22 teams, including the two German racing teams Bora-hansgrohe and Sunweb, each start with eight drivers. 176 professional cyclists tackle the tour.
N – Newcomer: The Israel Start-Up Nation team is new to the tour. The two Germans André Greipel and Nils Politt are also in the selection. The racing team has big plans, next year with Chris Froome the overall victory.
O – Organization: The Amaury Sport Organization organizes the Tour de France and is considered the most powerful organizer in cycling. In addition to classics such as Paris-Roubaix, the Frankfurt World Tour race and the tour through Germany are also part of the ASO empire.
P – Poulidor, Raymond: The French driver was more popular in his home country than almost any other driver. He made it to the podium in Paris eight times, but never won the tour. He didn’t even get a day in the yellow jersey. Poulidor died last year, and this year the twelfth stage will take you through his hometown.
Q – Quintana, Nairo: The Colombian is considered one of the best touring climbers. In 2013 and 2015 Quintana finished second in the general classification and in 2016 he finished third.
R – Record participant: Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel is the record participant of the tour with 18 starts. Jens Voigt participated 17 times.
S – falls: Since the Tour de France is always particularly hectic, falls are programmed. The heavy crash of former world champions Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan in 2017 is still fondly remembered. Bad falls had caused a stir in the run-up to the tour.
T-shirts: The yellow jersey has been awarded to the leaders of the Tour de France for over 100 years. The best rider rides in a red dotted dress. The driver with the best points is in green, the best young driver wears the white jersey.
U – Ullrich, Jan: 23 years ago the Rostock driver caused a cycling boom with his tour victory. Apart from Ullrich, no other German driver won the tour.
V – Vosges: In the Vosges this year the decision about the tour win will be taken. On the penultimate day there is the mountain time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles, after which the general classification should be.
W – World Champion: The rainbow jersey is worn by the Dane Mads Pedersen.
X – yet another attempt: the Grande Nation has been waiting for a home victory for 35 years. The last French tour winner was Bernard Hinault in 1985. Thibaut Pinot will most likely end the dry period.
Y – Youngster: The Frenchman Maxime Chevalier is the youngest driver in the field to start on Saturday with 21 years and 105 days.
Z – Spectators: Despite the corona pandemic, spectators are allowed on the edge of the track, albeit limited. There may be a maximum of 5000 fans in the start and finish area. Ten to twelve million people like previous years will hardly watch the race this time.