2012 Tour de France Humour

2012 Tour de France

One thing to remember about the Tour de France is that it's French.  Furthermore, the Tour de France typifies its country in the way that baseball is quintessentially American, and Wimbledon English.  What saddens French cyclist aficionados is the way that foreigners now dominate their national sport.

2012 Tour de France Humour

72 Years Ago - Tour de France 1940

Tour de France 1940

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Tour de France 2010 - Started in Rotterdam

The Tour de France has ridden through the city of Rotterdam three times before: in 1954, in 1978, and in 1978 the Tour made a third procession through the city.

Results of the 2009 Tour de France

Yellow Jersey 21 Alberto CONTADOR of ASTANA 85h 48' 35"
Green Jersey   6 Thor HUSHOVD of CERVELO 280 pts
Polka Dot      91 Franco PELLIZOTTI or LIQUIGAS 210 pts

Gallic HumourTour de France 2010

The French have a great penchant for laughing out loud at crude or trivial jokes, while Anglophiles prefer subtler humour.  As a result, it is easier to tell a racy joke at a French café than in an English pub.

As well as bouffonnerie, the French also like cutting remarks designed to wound rather than to amuse.  Thus, compared with English humour, Gallic wit is cruel rather than kind, and intellectual rather than absurd.  French love their irreverent Astérix books, British prefer Monty Python sketches.  I would also suggest that we British are better at laughing at ourselves than the French.

Language Barrier?

The tour riders are truly multi-national, here are examples of a linguistic misunderstand that could occur between a Frenchman and Australian.

Cyril Dessel to Cadel Evans:  Chaussee deformer? (Are you a contortionist?)
Cadel Evans to Cyril Dessel:  Dacor Moi Aussie (Of course, I am an Australian.)

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Tour de France JerseysFunny Tour de France

Yellow - Maillot Jaune

Contenders for the 2011 Yellow Jersey

The Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France is awarded to the rider with the quickest overall time and is, therefore, the race leader. It was created in 1919 as an homage to the yellow paper of l'Auto magazine, founder of the Tour de France in 1903.

Eddy Merckx wore the Maillot Jaune for a record 111 days.  This Eddy did because he was a good time time-trialist, proficient climber and great 'Le Patron' of the race.

Green - Maillot Vert

Contenders for the 2011 Points Classification

The next most prestigious jersey is given to the leader in the points classification which rewards sprinters. During each stage, points are attributed during the intermediary sprints and at the finish. The jersey was introduced in 1953.

Germany's Erik Zabel won it a record six consecutive times between 1996 and 2001.  In 2010, can 'Cav' go all the way to Paris, and in the process win the points classification?

Polka Dot - Maillot à Pois Rouges

Contenders for the 2011 King of the Mountains

Awarded to the rider who earns most of the points at each summit of a hill or pass. The winner is known as the 'King of the Mountains'.

Although the award was introduced in 1933, this distinctive jersey was not introduced until 1975.

White - Maillot Blanc
The newest jersey, the white, was introduced in 1975. Given to the best young rider [under 25] in the general classification, it was abandoned in 1989 but reintroduced in 1999.

In 2010 Andy Schleck is considered a 'shoo in', an even bigger favourite than Alberto Contador to win the overall race.

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Lance Armstrong - A French View Tour de france anti-doping

A cartoon has appeared in Le Monde, the French newspaper, which perhaps sums up the French attitude to the Tour. Unable to provide a Frenchman as overall winner since Bernard Hinault the French people look upon Lance Armstrong with a mixture of ignorance and vitriol:

'Lance Armstrong is unbelievable.............He walked on the moon, he survived cancer, he won the Tour de France seven times, he revolutionized jazz..........and you're telling me he isn't on drugs?'

Thanks to Jason Burke, journalist: The Observer.

Expressions Heard on the Tour de France

Lanterne Rouge
This mocking expression is used for the last-placed man in the overall classification, named after the red light shown on trains to mark the rearmost carriage.
Will and Guy agree that in a race where just finishing is a considerable achievement even being last is still an honour.

Voiture balai
This is the "Broom wagon" - literally translated as car brush; this vehicle rounds up race stragglers and boots them out of the race.

 Peloton
"Herd" or pack; the word used to describe the racing group.

 Domestiques
"Servants" or team helpers. These participants support their team leader. They do the donkey work that enables their leader to thrive, or sometimes simply to survive. This may mean fetching and carrying water and supplies from the team car. It may mean providing a small slipstream [not permitted in an individual time trial] by spending a lot of time at the front of the peloton. Or it could even mean handing over their bike to allow their team leader to continue riding while they wait for a replacement.

Grimpeur
Climber.  Those who ride up mountains with wings of angels have their own honour system; for example, on a mountain ascent if one grimpeur in the lead group punctures, the others will slow down, and none will attack until he changes his tyre and safely rejoins the break-away group.

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Expressions Not Heard on The Tour de France

  • Sprinters discussing which of them will be wearing the 'King of the Mountains Jersey'.
  • Grimpeurs crying out for room in a bunch finish on a flat stage.

An Alternative View: French Testing Methods Revealed
Thanks to Terry C Wise

Anti French Sentiment [not supported by Will and Guy]
CNN is reporting that Lance Armstrong may be stripped of his 7th Tour de France title.  In a random check for banned substances, three were found in Armstrong's hotel room.

The 3 substances banned by the French, that were found in Lance's hotel room were as follows:

  1. Toothpaste
  2. Deodorant 
  3. Soap

 

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