Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Le Tour de Trivia

Think you know Le Tour - test yourself (and those louses sprawled across your floor, drinking your beer, eating all the Eddy Merckx Birthday cake, and too cheap to splurge for their own hook up to Versus.)

In this 97th edition we will add to the Tourmalet-sized mountain for facts and trivia that already exists for fanatics, commentators and history buffs to dig through - in fact the Tourmalet itself will be added - with only the second ever summit finish in Tour history (1974 was the previous.) Here's a few more to pedal through -
  • How old was the oldest Tour de France cyclist? 50 year, Henri Paret, in 1904
  • First wearer of the Yellow Jersey? Eugène Christophe on stage11 in 1919 Tour
  • First rider to wear the maillot jaune from start to finish? Ottavio Bottechia is the first Italian winner as well - 1924.
  • The smallest ever number of finishers? only 10 in 1919
  • The Tour's first fatal casualty? 1910 Adolphe Hélière was electrocuted by a a jellyfish while bathing in Nice on the rest day there.
  • First woman to finish the Grand Boucle? Marie Marvingt, after being denied a start by Director Henri Desgrange because it was men only, she proceeded to ride, and complete, the entire grueling 1908 Tour after the men - only 36 of 114 men finished.
  • The longest ever solo break? In 1912 Eugène Christophe is away for 315 kilometres before winning in Grenoble. His winning margin is just 2' 37" over Octave Lapize.
  • Greatest number of past and future winners to take the start? 11 past or future Tour winners are on the start line in 1914: Louis Trousselier (1905), Lucien Petit-Breton (19071908), François Faber (1909), Octave Lapize (1910), Gustave Garrigou (1911), Odile Defraye (1912), Philippe Thys (1913, 1914 and 1920), Firmin Lambot (1919 and 1922), Léon Scieur (1921), Henri Pélissier (1923) and Lucien Buysse (1926) and
  • The longest stage in Tour history? 482km from Les Sables d'Olonne to Bayonne in 1919.
  • What's the most times anyone has finished the Tour? 16 by Joop Zoetemelk, between 1970 and 1986
  • The slowest ever winning speed? 24.056km/h (1919)
  • The Tour's oldest victor? Firmin Lambot at 37 in 1922, a record that still stands
  • Longest Tour of all time? 1926 at 5745km
  • The year of the first King of the Mountains? 1933, the won by Spaniard Vincente Trueba
  • How many winners of the Tour have had their victory nullified? Twice in the history of the race has the rider awarded the win been disqualified at a later date. The first time was in 1904 when the previous year's winner, Maurice Garin, after winning again was found to have caught a train for part of the event, and then at the 2006 race Floyd Landis of America was disqualified for elevated testosterone levels found in a urine sample taken after one of his stage wins.
  • The Tour has its own motorcycle police force and a traveling bank - the only one in France allowed to open on Bastille Day
  • What's magic about #8? Several things:
    a) Eight - most number of stages won on single Tour (Charles Pelissier, 1930 - Eddy Merckx, 1970 and 1974 - Freddy Maertens, 1976)
    b) Eight - most riders to wear yellow jersey in one Tour (1987)
    c) Eight seconds - smallest winning margin (American Greg LeMond over Laurent Fignon in 1989)
  • How many Calories burned by a rider in the course of the Tour? 123,900 (based on 5900-per day average at 21 days of racing)

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