When the 106th Tour of France starts in Brussels on the first Saturday in July and the 176 riders set off on the 3460 km long route to Paris, the fans will celebrate the winners as well as the courageous runaways and brave climbers. With this exclusive selection of bikes, components, accessories & apparel in Tour and Team designs & colors, you can share and use your cycling enthusiasm. » Read more
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On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Yellow Jersey, this year's route of the French country tour was unveiled in the presence of the three cycling legends and five-time tour winners Bernaud Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Eddy Merckx. As a tribute to the latter Belgian, who still holds the record with 34 stage victories, the starting gun will for the first stage will be used in Brussels – exactly 50 years after his first Tour victory. At the same time, the week of the sprinters and the battle for the Green Jersey will begin. Muscular legs and reliable racing bikes are in demand then, when the pros briefly speed up to 70 km/h, with short burst of power of up to 1900 watts.
The team Deceuninck-Quick Step is going to take their chances to try for an early victory and getting their hands on the yellow jersey. Marcel Kittel, the most successful German stage winner of the Tour (14 wins), will not be available to his team Katusha-Alpecin for this year's trip around France to continue his series. The eleven-time stage winner and team captain André Greipel has every reason to hope for success though after his team Arkea-Samsic received a wild card for this year's edition of the ‘Great Loop‘.
A few flat and undulating stages in Lorraine and the Champagne and a very short time trial in Pau (27 km) make it clear that climbing qualities will be most in demand for the Tour victory this year.
The Col du Tourmalet (2115 m) is one of the four sacred mountains on the tour, along with the mighty Col du Galibier (2645 m), the mystical Mont Ventoux and the famous summit in L'Alpe d'Huez. It will be the third time in its history that the Col du Tourmalet will be the destination of a stage. Of the four other stage destinations which finish on top of a mountain, another two will end at over 2000 metres. And this on the last two days before the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. So there will be an exciting fight for the overall victory and for the best climber's jersey until the end.
The 22 teams will have to master a total of seven challenging mountain stages in the Pyrenees, Alps and the Massif Central in the saddle before the 2.3 million euros in prize money are completely distributed. But there is so much more to win than money at the most important cycle race in the world. Fame and honour, the love of the fans, but above all an entry in the annals of cycling and the chance to be mentioned in the same breath as the heroes of the past.
Especially experienced climbers and all-rounders like Vicenzo Nibali from Team Bahrain Merida or strong climbers like Richie Porte from Team Santini Trek-Segafredo can certainly profit from one of the most demanding routes of all times and the many surprising cancellations (Dumoulin, Froome).
As the largest annual sporting event in the world, the Tour is also a masterpiece of organisation. The teams are traveling with a 12-ton truck and several team vehicles to transport the huge amount of material and food for the riders. Even smaller teams, such as Team Cofidis or Team Total Direct Energy, will have several sport directors, masseurs, mechanics, doctors, chauffeurs and cooks with them for the duration of the tour.
In addition, every team carries at least 30 road bikes worth 7,000-15,000 euros, which have been designed to be even more streamlined than ever before. The matching road helmets, glasses and caps and around 50 saddles, handlebar tapes, sprockets, handlebars and wheels are a must. For team and individual time trials, at least 20 additional aerodynamic time trial bikes, time trial suits, special Aeorbars (up to approx. 500 Euro) and the drop-shaped aero helmets (170-600 Euro) are required. Road bike shoes, pedals, shift components - the list could be continued for a long time to come. And for the many jerseys, socks, arm and leg warmers, jackets, gloves and trousers, washing machines are available in the team bus, so that not only the riders' legs are fresh again at the start of the next stage.
In order to replenish the up to 15,000 kilocalories that a professional cyclist burns per stage as quickly as possible, many carbohydrates are needed. Each team has between 2000-3000 gel and bars with them, which can be consumed on the bike. Against thirst and for the spectators each team has approximately 3000 bottles on stock. They are not only very popular as water dispensers, but also as souvenirs. So everything has been thought of. The cyclists only have to do the pedaling themselves.
21 stages, relentless sprints, the finest racing bikes, contested jerseys and legendary climbs.