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July 7, 2018

Sports Saturday: Le Tour! France!

Le Tour de France!   

July is the month of the tour, which is  an annual male multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours (the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España), it generally consists of 21 or 22  stages over a little more than 3 weeks. This year's edition will be an almost totally French affair, dropping into Spain for a brief 15 km or so during a Pyrenees mountain stage. 

This year favorites like Simon Clarke, Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphilippe, and Mark Cavendish are returning for another go around.  Running from Saturday, July 7th to Sunday, July 29th 2018, the 105th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,351 kilometres.

Cycling was once the king of speed, before automobiles became common.  The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L'Auto, and is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which also runs other major cycling races, and vigorously defends its own business, often to the detriment of fans and their own cyclists.  

 The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars, and today begins its 105th edition.  The Tour is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI WorldTeams, with the exception of the teams that the organizers invite.   

In almost all recent editions of the race, the big finish has been on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.  This year, because of vaguely rationaled motives, eight riders will ride for each team instead of nine.  Nothing like providing a fresh challenge. It is, though, a much beloved annual festival of cycling, and should provide hours of television viewing and reading for fans of road cycling and sports mad junkies like some viewers of this space.  Enjoy, and bon Tour!

FRANCE beats Uruguay.  In a quarterfinal game yesterday, the truly great Uruguay team was bested by France 2-0.  Although France claims not to be as Soccer mad as its neighbors, preferring to express fandom for Rugby and Tennis, and let's not forget Petanque, organized of the Tour de France started the opening stage early today, so they could be finished before any of the World Cup games.   

In the other opening day match of the Quarterfinals yesterday, South America was again saddened by the victory of  Belgium over Brazil, 2-1.  Today's games feature Sweden vs. England, and hosts Russia vs. Croatia.  Semifinals begin on Tuesday. 

In Men's Tennis, Wimbledon is in the Round of 32 today, with the Round of 16 to begin on Monday.  Don't worry sportsfans, Zverev, Nadal, and other Tennistas well known to readers of this space are still involved.   


bignate said...

Oh, la la!

Xersex said...

hope to see Nibali winner