Tour de France preview: You know you’re obsessed with Le Tour when …

While the debate goes on about which of the Giro, Tour and Vuelta is the ‘best’ of the year’s Grand Tours – and here at VeloVoices Towers we can argue passionately on behalf of all three – there’s no doubt that the French race is the biggest in terms of media coverage, fan interest and prestige.

We’re hugely excited about the start of the Tour this weekend – some would say obsessive – but how do you know when you have tipped over the line which separates being a mere fan from being the sort of individual against whom Fabian Cancellara is forced to take out a restraining order? [No names mentioned, ahem, Kitty – Ed.] Here are 20 pointers to watch out for. Score one point for each.

You know you’re obsessed with the Tour de France when you:

Hands up if you know who Lampre and ISD are!

1. Can name all 22 competing teams and what business their sponsors are in without hesitation. [We’ll be able to help you out with that with our previews over the next two days – Ed.]

2. Have committed the start and finish towns, distance and profile of every stage to memory. [Ditto. Watch our for our day-by-day stage previews – Ed.]

3. Keep wondering how good you would look in yellow. [Answer: not very – Ed.]

4, Own a replica yellow jersey and think you look good in it.

5. Are looking forward to a three-week holiday based solely around your TV, laptop and Twitter.

6. Mentally assign a category number to every hill you encounter.

7. Routinely go everywhere with drinks stuffed into every possible shirt and trouser pocket.

The ideal place to practise your sprint technique?

8. Start following people in the queue at Starbucks really closely, hoping to nip out of their slipstream just before you hit the front.

9. Constantly check the road-side every time you pass a bus queue just in case someone wants to randomly hand you a bag of food.

10. Find yourself automatically throwing away empty Coke cans to the side of the road.

11. Think it’s okay to have obvious tan lines halfway across your thighs and upper arms.

12. Fret about missing a time limit whenever you get held up in traffic.

13. Start pulling up alongside cars and asking their occupants if they can do some running repairs to your bike while you cruise alongside them.

Toilets are for wimps?

14. Think it’s okay to relieve yourself while riding/driving.

15. Hope someone has lovingly painted your name on the road – by hand, obviously, not using a chalk-bot.

16. Wonder why not every motorbike has someone perched precariously on the back pointing either a camera or a chalk-board at you.

17. Keep looking up the road expecting to see the flamme rouge telling you that you’re 1km from your destination.

18. Automatically drink a big bottle of water at the end of the working day just in case you are asked to visit the doping control.

19. Expect a long rub-down at the end of every day.

20. Spend entire days creating ‘You know you’re obsessed with the Tour de France when …’ lists.

How did you score?

0-5: You do know there’s a race happening, right?

6-10: You’re a fan, but you’ve got the balance about right.

11-15: You’re a borderline obsessive whose friends tend to avoid you during the month of July.

16-20: You need help. Seriously.

VeloVoices Tour de France previews

Are you ready?