28 May 2010

Tour de France - Five Fact Friday

Tour de France Trivia
  • First TTT - the first team time trial was in 1927.  
  • National Teams - National teams were introduced in 1930, prior to that, major bike manufacturers sponsored the teams. Teams have of course returned to being commercially sponsored.
  • Fan threatens rider - in 1950, Italian rider Gino Bartali was punched to the ground and threatened with a dagger on the Col d'Aspin. He got up to win the stage, and then withdrew, with all his teammates, claiming their lives were in danger.
  • Punched by a fan In 1975 Eddy Merckx was on the climb up the Puy-de-Dome when a French spectator punched him in the stomach. A few days later, Merckx crashed and fractured his cheek bone, but did not abandon the race. In the end, he lost the the Tour by less than 3 minutes to Bernard Thevenet.
  • The Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey of the rider in the lead) was introduced in 1919 simply to help spectators recognize who was currently winning the race.