The Tour de France started a few days ago and being the bike lovers we are, everyone at Urban AdvenTours is excited to follow cycling’s most prestigious professional race. For those of you new to cycling, the Tour is a three-week long race that covers approximately 3,600 kilometers of France’s beautiful countryside, including the French Alps, and finishes in downtown Paris.
All of the sport’s best riders from around the world compete. Here’s some of our staff’s picks for who’ll wear the yellow jersey:
Cole: After last year’s political drama between Spaniard Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, tensions are high for this year’s Tour. Last year’s top three finishers–Contador, Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, and Armstrong–are this year’s favorites.
The difficult parcours (that’s French for “course”) this year, including a Stage 3 featuring many stretches of cobblestone roads, will allow luck to play a greater role in the overall outcome than in years past. One slip on the cobbles could lead to a race-ending injury for any rider. Andy Schleck is lucky to ride with cobblestone aces such as Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O’Grady at Saxo Bank, who will likely keep their team leader well-protected.
I think the widespread desire to topple Alberto Contador as reigning king of the cycling world combined with the Andy Schleck’s improvements as a time trialist and the sheer strength of his Saxo Bank team will put the Luxembourger on the top step of the podium when the race reaches Paris.
Chris: While I don’t have a pick for the winner, this year I will be commemorating through a “Tour de DANCE.” That’s right. A non-stop cotton-eye-joe until the race has been won!
Niko: Contador for the win!
Kyle: I think the person with the best chance is Contador, but I don’t think he’ll win by as much as he did last year. I don’t think Lance Armstrong will podium. I’d like to see one of the Schlecks win, but Contador is the overwhelming favorite.
The most exciting time to watch will be between Stages 14 and 17, when riders are going through the Pyrenees — it’s going to be a huge suffer-fest. And Stage 3’s over 200 km of cobblestone will prove to be an early General Classification shake-up in the tour. The sprint stages will be lacking some zest this year with Boonen and Haussler missing the Tour due to injury (be it Cavendish’s fault or not), but still look for head-to-head sprints against Thor Huschov, Tyler Farrar, and Mark Cavendish to make for a very close race for the green jersey.
Garrett: I’d like to see an American win again. Anyone but a Spaniard.
Clearly, Tour tensions are high and our staff will be following closely. After all, bikes are our thing and this is one of the biggest international cycling events in the world.