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Useful Notes / Tour de France

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This is what they want to win.

Le Tour de France. Twenty-one days of cycling about 3500km (2175mi) through France, with stages on flat terrain, in the hills and in the mountains, often totaling an average race speed of about 40 kph for the entire distance. In this race, everyone has an agenda. Whether it is to win a stage for themselves, or helping someone win either the general classification, or one of the secondary classifications (points classification, mountains classification, youth competition, team classification), and you can easily expect everyone to be at the top of their form when they're in this race. It's currently considered the biggest race in the sport, and is part of the UCI World Tour, and is one of the three grand tours (Vuelta a España and Giro d'Italia are the two others). The race was started in 1903, and has been held every year since then, except for the World War I and World War II periods, with a total of 101 races being held.

The Tour de France is a well known race all over the world, with winners from 15 countries and four continents. It enjoys a large following on French television every year, not only because of the competition aspect but also because of its "touristic" value, since it goes through a number of regions and their beautiful landscapes French people are so proud of, with commentators talking a bit about local cultures and history in addition to sports matters.

Like the sport in general, Tour de France is home to controversies about doping and corruption, to a point where a YMMV can even be placed next to the name of certain winners. The most winning rider in Tour de France history was Lance Armstrong, with seven victories between 1999 and 2005. As of the 22nd October 2012, Armstrong has been stripped of his titles because of doping. Now the most winning riders are Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Induraín with five each.

Aside from controversies, there are also lots of unwritten rules in the race that one would be expected to follow. For example, if a general classification contender, or more of there, are dropped due to an accident, the race is effectively neutralized until said contender is back up. Note that this rule does not apply if there's a GC threat in a breakaway ahead, or on some early sprinter stages where the GC-lead is theoretically up for grabs, or sprinter teams have an interest of winning the stage, as they have their own classification to look out for.

Despite this being a French event, no French rider has actually won the race since Bernard Hinault won in 1985, and since Richard Virenque finished second in 1997, it took 17 years before another French rider was on the podium, as Jean-Christophe Peraud finished second and Thibaut Pinot finished third in 2014. The following nations have a Tour de France winner (in order of first victory): France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, USA, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, Colombia, and Slovenia.

There are a few internal competitions in the race, which are following:

  • General classification: This classification is the one that determines if one wins the race. The fastest rider, using time as a measurement instead of stage placement, wins the general classification. The GC-leader is identified by wearing a yellow jersey. There are sometimes bonus seconds awarded for winning an intermediate sprint or being among the first several places at the end of a stage, but rarely if ever do those affect the final result.
  • Points classification: This is sometimes referred to as the sprinter classification. The rider with most points, which are obtained by winning stages and bonus sprints, wins. Stage results are the tiebreaker, should two riders end up with the same amount of points. While sometimes called the sprinter competition, it isn't always won by an actual sprinter. The leader of this competition is identified by a green jersey, unless the same rider leads this as well as the GC, in which case it's given to the man in second place of this competition. In case of a tie, the rider with the most stage wins takes the jersey. If that too is a tie, the rider with most intermediate sprints wins will take the competition. If that is a tie too, general classification is the final tiebreaker.
  • Mountains classification: Also called "king of the mountains" classification, this competition works like the points classification, except that this one is about coming over tops of mountains. A stage finish on the highest mountains, categorized 1 and HC (Hors Catégorie; - beyond category) , doubles the usual points for winning such a mountain sprint elsewhere on the stage - a change which was made to keep the top riders able to take this jersey, instead of an unknown breakaway rider who'd fizzle out late on a stage. The leading rider of this competition wears a white jersey with red dots, also called the polka-dot jersey. In case of a tie, the rider who has won the most HC climbs wins. If that is tied too, the rider with most category 1 wins takes it. If that too is a tie, category two will be decisive, then three and finally four. If all of those are tied, general classification becomes the tiebreaker.
  • Youth classification: This competition is essentially the general classification for riders who are 25 years old or below. Note that by 25 years, it means turning 25 in the same year as the year of the race. The leader of this classification wears a white jersey. The three competitions above rank higher in the jersey order.
  • Team classification: This competition functions like the GC, but instead of taking a rider's individual time, the time of the three first riders of a team (of nine) are noted and added together as the team's time on a stage. The leading team in this classification wear fully yellow helmets, while the team that won the competition for the previous stage have their back numbers on a yellow background.
  • Combativity award: This is an award given by a jury after each stage, as well as by the end of the race. It's given to the best fighter of the race, and the criteria are a bit unclear for how to actually win this. The most combative rider from the previous day has white numbers on a red background, to be easily identified. Essentially the Determinator award.

The order in which the jersey's are worn are: Yellow, green, polka-dot, white. If a rider leads both the general classification and the points classification, the rider will wear the yellow jersey, the second best in the points classification will wear green. In 2013, a rule change was implemented, so that a jersey of a competition a rider actually leads takes priority over a competition a rider doesn't lead. This was relevant for the second stage of the 2014 Tour; the winner of the first stage (Marcel Kittel) led both the general classification and the points classification, while the second rider in the points classification (Peter Sagan) led the youth classification, so third rider in points (Bryan Coquard) actually wore the green jersey. The red number stands ahead of the yellow one, but the number (yellow for leading team, red for combativity) can go with any jersey.

Competition records:

  • General classification (5 times):
    • Jacques Anquetil (France) - 1957, 1961-1964
    • Eddy Merckx (Belgium) - 1969-1972, 1974
    • Bernard Hinault (France)note  - 1978-1979, 1981-1982, 1985
    • Miguel Induraín. (Spain) - 1991-1995
  • Points classification (7 times): Peter Sagan (Slovakia) - 2012-2016, 2018-2019
  • Mountains classification (7 times): Richard Virenque (France) - 1994-1997, 1999, 2003-2004
  • Youth classification (4 times): Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) 2020–2023 (2020 and 2021 while also winning the GC)
  • Team classification:
    • Belgium (for national teams, back when that was the standard) - 10 times - 1931, 1935-1936, 1938-1939, 1948, 1950, 1956, 1958-1959 (note that in 39, 48 and 50, Belgium had more than one team)
    • France - 10 times - 1930, 1933-1934, 1937, 1951, 1955, 1957, 1960-1961, 1967
    • Banesto/Movistar - 7 times - 1991, 1999 (both as Banesto), 2015-2016, 2018-2020 (as Movistar)
  • Combativity award (4 times): Eddy Merckx (Belgium) - 1969-1970, 1974-1975
  • Stage wins (34):
    • Eddy Merckx (Belgium) - 1969-1975
    • Mark Cavendish (United Kingdom) - 2008-2021
  • Stages won in single edition (8):
    • Charles Pelissier (France) - 1930
    • Eddy Merckx (Belgium) - 1970, 1974
    • Freddy Maertens (Belgium) - 1976
  • Participations (18): Sylvain Chavanel (France) - 2001-2018
  • Finishes (16):
    • Chavanel – 2001–2006, 2008–2011, 2013–2018
    • Joop Zoetemelk (Netherlands) – 1970–1973, 1975–1986 (every Tour he entered)

The most recent winners of the different competitions are listed here:

     2023 competition winners 
  • General classification: Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark, Jumbo Visma)
  • Points classification: Jasper Philipsen (Belgium, Alpecin–Deceuninck)
  • Mountains classification: Giulio Ciccone (Italy, Lidl–Trek)
  • Youth classificationnote : Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia, UAE Team Emirates)
  • Team classification: Jumbo Visma
  • Combativity Award: Victor Campenaerts (Belgium, Lotto–Dstny)

     2022 competition winners 
  • General classification: Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark, Jumbo Visma)
  • Points classification: Wout van Aert (Belgium, Jumbo Visma)
  • Mountains classification: Vingegaard
  • Youth classificationnote : Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia, UAE Team Emirates)
  • Team classification: Ineos Grenadiers
  • Combativity Award: van Aert

    Tour de France in Media 



  • "Tour de France" (1983), song by Kraftwerk.

Video Games:

  • Tour de France (new game every year)
  • Pro Cycling Manager

After over 100 editions, this race does have some tropes in it:

  • The Ace: Eddy Merckx at the top of his career. In 1969 he was so dominant that he won all the major individual classifications that existed at the time (general, points, mountains, combinationnote , and the combativity award). Had the youth classification existed at the time, he would have won that, too.
    • To put Merckx' dominance in further perspective, the 2022 Tour was the first since 1969 in which a team won the general, points, and mountains classifications, even with multiple riders (Jonas Vingegaard: GC and mountains, Wout van Aert: points, with van Aert also winning the combativity award).
  • Anti-Doping Is Useless: Riders being thrown out for doping is commonplace. Action is never taken against people higher up the system than said riders.
  • Always Second Best: Several excellent riders were never able to win the Tour. While Joop Zoetemelk was able to win the race in 1980, he only won after the favorite, Bernard Hinault, was forced to pull out due to knee trouble. He finished second in six other Tours, to riders such as Hinault and Eddy Merckx. Jan Ulrich similarly failed to follow up his 1997 win with another success, usually losing to Armstrong.
  • Artifact Title: "Hors Catégorie" (outside category) for the hardest climbs. It used to be that the hardest climbs were given separate points scales, not only from the other categories but from each other as well; hence, they really didn't fall into any category. Now, "Hors Catégorie" is itself a category, with all the "outside category" climbs given the same scale.
    • One story behind categories in general is that the categories were given to climb to help the cars that follow the pack, to tell them which gear they had to set the car in to be able to get over a climb. "Hors Catégorie" was given to climbs that cars were not expected to be able to climb.
  • Badass Crew: Despite looking like a very individual sport, it is next to impossible to win the race without a very solid team, since you need teammates to chase the riders that are leading the race, and others to accompany you during the hardest climbs - and possibly help you if you are having a bad day. Massive sprints also rely on teamwork between the sprinter who crosses the line and its lead-out man who makes sure he gets a proper opportunity for victory - one of the most famous lead-out/sprinter duos is Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish. To top it all, sprinter teams need other teammates to avoid breakaways getting the win, or to prevent attacks in the last kilometers. And finally, some editions include team time-trials that will be brutal for the unprepared.
  • Bastard Understudy: While naming an athlete as a villain doesn't quite hold up, the history of the race has several examples of this.
  • Berserk Button: For absolutely every rider: Spectators behaving badly, and/or stupidly. Riders punching annoying spectators, or swatting their phones away, is not an uncommon sight.
    • This also seems to be a button for most cycling broadcasters, usually former riders themselves. After the 12th stage of the 2016 edition, this came to the forefront after spectator interference caused yellow jersey Chris Froome to crash (along with two other GC contenders), and then the crowd at the presentation ceremony booing Froome when he was given time back due to said interference. The English-speaking broadcasters covering the event at least were, to put it mildly, disgusted at the spectators' behavior that day.
      • However, a French journalist aptly analysed that, if anything, losing the yellow jersey because of such an incident would have been likely to make Froome much more popular, as French fans prefer cyclists who get shat on by fate ("Poulidor" has become synonymous with Always Second Best in French).
  • Boring, but Practical: US Postal's and Team Sky's strategy, where they keep the race under total control in order to have their captain win. Relies a lot on having a Badass Crew - some former USP or Sky members became the leaders of other (very competitive) teams when they changed jerseys, such as Richie Porte for BMC.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Usually subverted with a lot of known dopers having won or been placed highly, but sometimes played straight, when people are thrown out or removed from the records. This is to the point that when Lance Armstrong's victories in 1999-2005 were thrown out, there was no winner declared because all of the runners-up in those years (and many of those in places right behind them) have either been caught doping or admitted to it.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jens Voigt in a bad mood does these rather often.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The unwritten rules are unwritten. Someone following this trope doesn't follow these.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Peter Sagan's attack on stage 11 of the 2016 edition (supported by his teammate Maciej Bodnar) wasn't entirely unexpected, as Sagan was a strong rider who had known combative tendencies. Chris Froome (the yellow jersey wearer, supported by his teammate Geraint Thomas) joining the action certainly was unexpected. The result was good for everyone in that break; Sagan won the stage, while Froome, finishing second (and securing a 6-second time bonus as a result), gained time on the other GC contenders (who were several seconds behind the breakaway).
    • Earlier that year, Froome's attack on the descent from Peyresourde on stage 8 was the same, getting him a 13 second advantage on the other GC contenders and a 10-second time bonus. In previous Tours, Froome had been accused of being "too predictable" (mostly from following the Boring, but Practical strategies above); the 2016 Tour allowed him to show a bolder side.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Pure climbers usually never win, unless they build up a big enough lead before the time trial(s). Last pure climber to win the race was Andy Schleck in 2010, but he only won after Alberto Contador was disqualified.
      • Rarely averted: Marco Pantani got a win without any prior disqualifications in 1998, but it was in the particular context of the Festina affair.
      • Michael Rasmussen would probably have won in '07, if it hadn't been for the general corruption in the sport, and even then, he still finished 10th on the time trial. But see Kick The Son Of A Bitch below.
    • This also applies to sprinters. A super-sprinter who can't (or won't) tackle the mountainous or hilly stages will fall squarely under this trope, as to complete the race, one must have some skill at all types of stages.
      • Case in point, legendary Italian sprinter "Super Mario" Cipollini. While he completed Giro d'Italia six times (winning the points competition thrice), he never completed a single Tour de France. Cipollini used to win several stages in the first week, only to shamelessly abandon the Tour at the first or second stage in the mountain.
      • This trope is so prevalent among sprinters that a sprinter who is just a bit more versatile than the others gets a big advantage. While he's able to keep up with—and even beat—the top sprinters of the world consistently, Peter Sagan won the points classification seven times from 2012-2019note  mainly because he can do very well on mid-mountain stages that pure sprinters generally only race to complete. His ability to contest sprint points and finishes that pure sprinters can't—as well as the sprint points and finishes pure sprinters generally do contest—allowed him to win the green jersey in 2014 by 149 pointsnote  even though he didn't win any stages. This feat led the Tour to change the points system in 2015 to give the pure sprinters a fighting chance at the green jersey. These changes only slowed Sagan down in his successful bid to win the green jersey in 2015; he won the jersey by 66 points despite (again) not winning a stage, though he did have to work harder for it. But then the next year, Sagan won by 242 points, more than doubling the second-place total. And he won by more than 200 points again in 2018.
    • Sometimes inverted when a time-trialist is really, really above anyone else and has a good enough team to control the race. Miguel Indurain used to win the Tour by winning a time-trial stage with so much margin that he only had to manage it until the last stage to ensure his victory.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Not entirely "battle", but sometimes a rider just tears the entire GC apart, or a sprinter wins every stage possible for them.
  • Curse: No French rider has won since 1985, and no French rider was in the top 3 between 1997 and 2014. The latter curse was broken by two French riders: Jean-Christophe Péraud (2nd) and Thibaut Pinot (3rd), and a third French rider, Romain Bardet, has since made the podium twice (finishing second in 2016 and third in 2017).
    • This curse has led to an achievement in the licensed game for the race (Pro Cycling Manager for PC, Tour de France on consoles), which is to win Tour de France with a French rider. This achievement is borderline Self-Deprecation, as the game studio behind said game is French.
    • A relatively minor "curse" involves the world champion's jersey (aka the "rainbow jersey"), where the winner of the previous year's world road cycling championship tends to underperform (or suffer some other misfortune) the next year, in a manner similar to the so-called "Madden Curse" (and believed to have similar causes). Obviously, this isn't always the case; for example, in the 2016 edition of the Tour, defending world champion Peter Sagan secured his fifth straight points classification win, in addition to winning three Tour stages (he had won none the previous two years).
  • Determinator: There's an award for biggest determinator every year, called the "combativity award". Aside from the award, TdF could have its own subpage on the matter. An article about it can be found here.
  • Down to the Last Time Trial: Several versions of the race have ended like this, most notably in 1989 where the final stage was a 24,5 km time trial. Laurent Fignon had a 50-second lead on Greg LeMond, but the American beat the Frenchman by 58 seconds, taking home the race by the smallest margin in race history. 1989 was the last year to end the race on a time trial, leading to a format where the last stage will be a sprinters' duel, usually without any general classification contenders doing anything.
    • 2011 had Cadel Evans take over the jersey on the final time trial from Andy Schleck.
    • The same happened in 2020, when Tadej Pogačar took over yellow in the next-to-last stage, a time trial, from fellow Slovenian Primož Roglić.
    • 2003 and 2008 had two riders being very close in the general classification, and while the leader held on to his jersey, it wasn't decided whether he'd win before the time trial. Both these years had the non-leaders (Ullrich and Evans) at a favourable standpoint, compared to the leaders: Ullrich had beaten Armstrong badly on the first time trial in 03 (and wasn't that much behind compared to the American), while Evans was just a plain better time trialist than Sastre.
    • This trope has also happened in individual stages. Stage 15 of the 2014 edition had a prime examplenote , where the peloton did not catch breakaway rider Jack Bauer (no, not that Jack Bauer) until the last 50 meters before the finish line. Bauer finished tenth in a stage it looked like he would win.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Naturally a race that has more than a century of history has some weird stories from the early days. Not only were the first events held without much media presence (there were newspapers, but no TV and few outside France cared), the race was also longer with fewer stages and worse bicycle technology. There is a reason this is sometimes labeled the "heroic age" of the Tour. The details on days of rest have also varied widely, with the current format of rather recent vintage.
  • Epic Fail: While Pereiro's win in 2006 was impressive, having the pack finish outside the time limit on stage 13 in 2006 was an epic fail on behalf of every team that had a GC-contender that year, except for CSC who had Voigt (the stage winner) placed in said breakaway.
    • The Orica-GreenEdge bus on the first stage of the 2013 race, which crashed into the finish line, and got stuck, with the riders arriving in 15 minutes. It was extracted with five minutes to spare.
    • On stage 7 of the 2016 edition, the last kilometer arch deflated and collapsed, and landed on the Orica-BikeExchange rider Adam Yates, causing him to crash while he was on the attack (video here). Yates was granted a time 7 seconds ahead of the main group, which is the advantage he had before getting hit by the arch. The top riders (at least) were noted for their time, or time difference to stage winner Cummings, at the 3 km mark, rather than at the finish line for that reason. In the next edition, the inflatable structures like the one used for the flamme rouge were replaced by sturdier structures, presumably to prevent this sort of thing happening again.
  • Epic Race: The epic race in cycling. The other two grand tours, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, also count, but the Tour de France is still the biggest by far.
    • The now-defunct NBC Sports Network lampshaded this as part of its "Epic Cycle" coverage that featured other prominent cycling events such as the Tour of California and various criterium events.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Several riders have high expectations following them into the race, which they're never able to live up to.
  • Fatal Method Acting: There have been a few cases where cyclists have died during the tour, but the most famous probably has to be Tom Simpson, who died of heat exhaustion and dehydration after taking alcohol and amphetamines and trying to ride up Mont Ventoux, a notoriously hot and difficult mountain, and collapsing near the summit. Naturally, there have been a few near misses as well, such as Wim van Est, who in 1951 survived falling off a mountain into a ravine.
    • The other deaths were Francisco Cepeda from Spain, who died from a crash on a descent from Col du Galibier in 1935, and Fabio Casartelli from Italy, who died from a crash on a descent from Col de Portet d'Aspet in 1995.
  • Follow the Leader: Yellow jerseys are very common when it comes to leader's jerseys in professional cycling races. A list of leader's jerseys in different cycling races can be found here.
  • Harder Than Hard: Climbs are rated from Fourth Category (least hard) to First Category (hardest). And then there is Hors Catégorie (out of category).
  • He's Back!: Happens quite often, with riders coming back from either bans or injuries.
  • Iconic Item: The yellow jersey. The other competition jerseys also qualify to some extent, especially the distinctive polka-dot jersey of the King of the Mountain competition.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: UCI and ASO did not want Rasmussen to win in 2007. He was doping (and he later confessed he had been), there was just no proof at the time. In fact, the rules regarding whereabouts were applied in a special way, which hasn't been done before or since, simply to get rid of him.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: There are some gentlemen's rules, which everyone is expected to follow.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: Ivan Basso's crash in the 2015 edition was this. He crashed on stage 5, and kept feeling pain in his testicular region, leading him to get checked. The diagnosis: Early stage testicular cancer. Basso got surgery, and recovered completely.
  • Made of Iron: Examples abound. A well-known example is Johnny Hoogerland's painful crash in 2011 after being sideswiped by a car and falling into a barbed-wire fence—and finishing not only the stage, but the entire race. Honorable mention to Juan Antonio Flecha, who was the one actually hit by said car (and got bumped into Hoogerland as a result); he also got back up and finished the stage and, eventually, the race.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: As common in cycling as Minor Injury Overreaction is in football. After all, in football you want to milk an injury as much as you can in hopes that your opponent gets the red card; in cycling, however, you're racing against the clock, and any dramatics would just waste time.
  • Manly Tears: If you see a rider crying, it's almost always this.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The team competition can be this. A team with strong riders and an every-man-for-himself mentality can win this competition. Radioshack-Nissan did in 2012.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Doping in the Tour de France has its own page on The Other Wiki, and TOW also has dedicated pages on the death of Tom Simpson (1967), the Festina affair (1998), doping in the 1998 Tour as a whole (with many teams other than Festina involved), doping in the 1999 Tour, the Lance Armstrong case, the Floyd Landis case (2006), Operación Puerto (2006, not only cycling, but many cyclists involved), and doping in the 2007 Tour. Note that most cases of doping that can currently be found in the news are either those of the past, accidental (e.g. clenbuterol in China), or biological passport cases (a system criticized by pros, of the kind one would expect to be clean, and experts). Nor is doping the only way that people have cheated in the Tour de France; way back in 1904 (the second year of the race), nine riders including the top four finishers were disqualified for riding cars and/or trains through stages instead of racing legitimately in them.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Dutch cyclist Wim van Est, attempting to defend his yellow jersey in 1951 (which he'd gained after having won the previous stage), lost control of his bike and fell into a 70-meter-deep ravine. He survived the fall with no serious injuries, thanks to the trees he fell into. He got back to the course with the help of his team and spectators and wanted to finish the stage, but he abandoned the Tour instead (to visit the hospital) at the insistence of his team. He would return to later runnings of the Tour, winning two more stages (plus a shared victory in a team time trial).
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Happened several times for unlucky riders.
  • Product Placement Name:
    • Most teams in the competition are named after their main sponsor(s). The only one exceptions in recent years are Astana and Katusha. Astana is sponsored by the Kazakhstan government and some big Kazakh companies (Astana was the name of the capital city before it got changed to Nur-Sultan and changed back to Astana), while Katusha is sponsored by several big Russian companies.
    • The various competitions have different sponsors; in 2022, these were LCL for the general classification (yellow jersey), Škoda for the points classification (green jersey), E.Leclerc for the mountains classification (polka-dot jersey), and Krys for the young-rider classification (white jersey).
  • Race Against the Clock: All the racers must finish within a certain percentage of time of the leader on any given stage, or they're eliminated from the race. The time limit is defined by the average speed of the lead rider, and the difficulty of the stage. Exceptions are often granted if too many riders finish outside the time limit (as happened in 2006 on stage 13, when 97% of the field was outside the time limit), if a rider is judged to have made a suitably heroic effort to stay in, or if the rider was hindered in his effort to stay in, through no fault of his own, by outside circumstances (such as misinformation by race officials, or spectators obstructing the course).
    • On stage 17 of the 1977 edition, the time limit was enforced against 30 riders, at least 30% of the remaining field, so leniency doesn't always happen.
  • Release Date Change: The 2020 edition had to be bumped up two months (from June-July to August-September) due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Its easier logistics and being an outdoors-only competition prevented it from being cancelled, unlike the likes of the Olympic Games.
  • Retcon: Lance Armstrong's victories have been officially wiped from the records after discovery of his doping. No official winners have been appointed in his place, in great part because most of the podium riders are known to have used PEDs or other illegal performance-enhancing methods at the time as well.
    • Some of the other winners, like Floyd Landis in 2006, and Alberto Contador in 2010, have been stripped of their wins due to doping violations; in these cases the victories have defaulted to the highest remaining cyclist (Óscar Pereiro in 2006, Andy Schleck in 2010). The Tour organizers excluded Bjarne Riis' 1996 win from the official records after Riis confessed to doping, but the Union Cycliste Internationale invoked its statute of limitationnote , and the Tour organizers now list him as winner on their official page, with a note that said he has confessed to doping. Excluding only Riis would be a major Double Standard, as he's hardly the only confessed or proven doper on the list of winners.
  • Scenery Porn: Expect the television coverage to feature a lot of helicopter shots whenever the Tour visits somewhere scenic. The 2014 Tour started in Yorkshire in England: rumour has it that the Yorkshire tourist board started their pitch to the Tour organisers by giving them a helicopter tour and saying "Look at this!"
    • During eventless parts of certain stages, some commentators talk about the history of the scenic places the peloton races through.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The Russian team Katusha is Katyusha in Cyrillic characters.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Some flat stages can end up as this, if there are strong, lateral winds. Stages as such can wreak havoc in a GC, even if they look like a reasonably easy stage on the map. How much it takes to identify such a stage, depends on geographical location. Also, flat stages with significant slopes, tight turns, or other difficulties near the end can throw off pure sprinters before the finish line, leaving riders with broader skillsets to compete for the win. Also, any easy-looking stage that allows for a late breakaway (or even an early one) to succeed.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Possibly with Chris Froome. Before 2011, he was a decent rider with occasional flashes of brilliance. Then he Took a Level in Badass, coming second in the Vuelta a España in 2011. Soon after, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with bilharzia the previous year (and likely had had the infection for years prior), and been receiving treatment for it. With the disease apparently in remission since a brief relapse early in 2012, his performance improved significantly. And then some, as evidenced by four Tour wins in five years.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Shirt: This being the biggest cycling race in the world, expect to see several national champions, especially since most European, as well as the Canadian, championships are held close to this race.
    • takes this up to eleven, as their national champion jerseys have most of the sponsor names removed, as can be seen here: French champion jersey.
    • On some teams, one can see the national flag and name of the rider on the side of the shirt.
  • World of Badass: It takes a badass to even complete this race. Even being the lanterne rouge (last-place finisher overall) is worth celebrating, since it still means you finished the race.