After the last few weeks, we at VeloVoices were feeling a bit jaded about all the news from the US. So we decided to revisit why we love the sport in the first place – a renewal of vows, so to speak. Over the course of today, we’ll be posting up our ten reasons why we love cycling. Here is Sheree’s list, in no particular order!
1. Freedom of the road. I can ride when and where I want, including the same roads as the professionals. In fact I get a huge kick out of seeing them race on roads I’ve ridden on.
The view from the summit of Col d’Eze which features most years in Paris-Nice and was my first Cat 1 climb (image courtesy of Eze Tourist Office)
2. Riding on my own but I’m never lonely as fellow cyclists make a point of acknowledging one another.
3. The friendships I’ve made with all sorts of people connected to the sport.
G4’s Petra and I pull a couple of Yeti (image courtesy of G4)
4. It’s high speed chess on wheels. I love trying to figure out teams’ race and stage tactics – the intrigue, the races within races.
5. I have so much admiration for those competing at the top level in such a tough and dangerous sport for relatively little reward and who make it look so easy, when I know it isn’t.
Image courtesy of Leopard-Trek
6. I love hanging around for hours on the finish line chatting to other fans, watching the action unfold on the screen and then seeing the peloton cross the finish line in a technicolor blur.
Jose Joaquin Rojas winning stage 1 of this year’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco (image courtesy of Susi Goetze)
7. Poetry in motion: Albertoen danseuse, Cav lunging for the line, Cancellara powering around a time trial course, Sky ascending at a set pace, Boonen dominating the cobbles, Samu swooping down a technical descent.
8. Cycling – both watching and riding – has taken me to some wonderful places I might not otherwise have visited.
Peloton on the Jaizkibel – Arkale circuit (image courtesy of Susi Goetze)
9. The history and romance of cycling and its sporting superstars such as Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil.
Depending on how you look at it, we’re either one-third of the way through the Tour de France – because we’ve just arrived at the first rest day – or nearly halfway through it in terms of stages completed and total distance covered. However you choose to look at it, it’s been a pretty eventful race so far, so here’s a quick review of week one of the 2012 Tour in numbers.
10 – Stages completed, out of a total of 21.
1,616.5 – Distance (in kilometres) covered so far, out of a total of 3,497. (That’s 46%, stat fans.)
1 – Summit finishes to date: La Planche des Belles Filles on stage seven. There are two still to come.
Sagan is the only three-time winner so far (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)
7 – Number of different stage winners: Peter Sagan (three), Andre Greipel (two), Fabian Cancellara,Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, Thibaut Pinot and Bradley Wiggins.
5 – Number of teams to have registered a stage win: Liquigas-Cannondale (three), Sky (three), Lotto-Belisol (two), RadioShack-Nissan and FDJ-Big Mat.
4 – Stages won by 22-year olds: Sagan (three), Pinot.
2 – Stages won by riders currently in the top 20 of the general classification: Froome (stage seven) and Wiggins (stage nine).
21 – Tour career wins for Mark Cavendish after his stage two victory.
16 – Peter Sagan‘s three victories to date take his 2012 win total to 16.
3 – For the first time ever, three British riders have won stages at the same Tour: Cavendish, Froome and Wiggins.
The yellow jersey
2 – Number of riders who have led the 2012 race: Fabian Cancellara (seven days) and Bradley Wiggins (three).
28 days in yellow for Cancellara (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)
28 – Cancellara has now accumulated 28 days in yellow during his career – more than any non-overall winner, passing the record of Rene Vietto (26 days).
50 – Wiggins took the yellow jersey on stage seven on July 7th, one day after the 50th anniversary of the first British rider to claim the overall race lead: Tommy Simpson in 1962.
6 – Only six riders are within five minutes of the race leader in the general classification. A further six are between five and six minutes in arrears.
32 – Peter Sagan leads the green jersey competition with 217 points, 32 more than second-placed Matt Goss. He has led the classification since winning stage one.
Morkov was the early leader of the mountains classification (image courtesy of Wikipedia)
6 – Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s Michael Morkov wore the King of the Mountains’ polka dot jersey for six days.
21 – Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) currently leads the mountains classification with 21 points. There are 27 points available on tomorrow’s stage alone.
42 – In seconds, Tejay van Garderen‘s advantage over Rein Taaramae in the young rider comperition. They are the only two riders to have worn the white jersey so far, although RadioShack’s Tony Gallopin is just three seconds behind Taaramae in third.
17 – Tour starts for BMC’s George Hincapie, a new record.
Zubeldia is the highest placed RadioShak rider in the GC (image courtesy of RadioShack-Nissan)
5 – Number of RadioShack-Nissan riders in the top 17 of the general classification: Haimar Zubeldia (sixth), Maxime Monfort (seventh), Tony Gallopin (13th), Andreas Kloden (15th) and Frank Schleck (17th).
23 – Since 2008, British riders have won 23 stages of the Tour (Cavendish 21, Wiggins and Froome one each) – only one fewer than between 1903 and 2007 .
21 – At the time of writing, there have been 21 abandonments from the race – this includes Tony Martin, who withdrew after yesterday’s time trial.
8 – Eight of the 21 riders to have quit the race are Spanish: Mikel Astarloza, Amets Txurruka, defending King of the Mountains Samuel Sanchez and Gorka Verdugo (all Euskaltel-Euskadi), J J Rojas, Imanol Erviti and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (all Movistar) and frmer green jersey and three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Katusha).