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Tour de France 101 – Helpful tips for new Tour fans

  • By Ben Delaney
  • Published Jun. 13, 2009
  • Updated Jul. 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM EDT

2010 Tour de France Stage 1 Map

Bike racing is quite unlike the mainstream “stick-and-ball” sports that most Americans grew up playing, and can often be confusing, or a even a complete mystery. Even other endurance sports, such as marathon running or triathlon, lack the complexities and tactics of professional road cycling. In those sports, the person that is in the front of the race is usually the one that wins. That’s seldom always the case in cycling. In fact, it’s possible to win the Tour de France without crossing the line first on any of the 21 stages. So to help the first-time (or even second- or third-time) viewer, here are some explanations that might help you appreciate the Tour beyond the stunning scenery.

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