This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Tour de France is an extreme endurance cycling event spanning 3600 kms in 20 stages in 3 weeks circling the circumference of France. The stages come in all kinds of flavours: mountains, flats, time trials; smooth roads, cobbled roads, muddy roads; the fast ones, the steadily painful ones, the ones in the alps with steep ascents where a slight slip could prove fatal; 57kms(time trials) to 200.5kms(alps).
As are the stages, so are the riders too. Some of them good at time trials, some tailor made for the mountains, some who can sprint well at the finish to take a podium place. This year saw 178 riders participate and about 140 finish.

The podium finishers this year were:

a) Yellow Jersey a.k.a. Malliot Jaune - For overall best finishing time. You needn't win any stage to get this jersey; consistently finishing in the top few places in all the stages is the requisite although a hard-fought win in a stage would make one more worthy of it. This is the most battled for jersey and as mentioned in my previous blog, American Landis proved worthy of it this year with an amazing comeback in the last mountain stage of the tour where he was able to makeup a 8 minute loss to the then leader Oscar Perreiro and win his first stage ever.
The top five leaders in the overall standings are:
1) Floyd Landis
2) Oscar Perreiro (+1 min)
3) Andraus Kloden (+2.5)
4) Carlos Sastre (+5)
5) Cudel Evans

The time trial(57kms) on Saturday(22nd July) proved to be the decider after the mountain stage on Thursday. Landis finished a minute and a half before Perreiro and retained the Malliot Jaune. And Sastre who was second in the standings before the time trial didn't do well ion the time trial and his place in the overall standings was taken by Kloden who finished second in the time trial.

b) Polka dot(red on white) Jersey - This jersey goes to the rider with maximum points(best finish) in the mountain stages. Last year's title holder Rasmussen(the german rides the lightest bike in the tour with a weight just 0.5kgs above the minimum specification) who was asked to pace Menchov by his team in an early mountain stage was upset since he wanted to defend his title. The result of this was that Rasmussen lead from start to finish in the next mountain stage to retain the polka dot jersey in the KING OF THE MOUNTAINS classification. Rasmussen, a former mountain biker is good in the mountains but not a contender in the speedy time trials.

c) Green Jersey - This jersey goes to the one who consistently finishes(maximum points) across all the stages. This jersey is usually contended by sprinters who can accelerate really well in the last 200 metres of the stage to win the stage. The Australian, Robbie McCewen who has three stage (2,4 and 6) wins this tour retained the green jersey. Other promising sprinters who faded out later in the stage were Tom Boonen and Oscar Friere(pronounced fereira).

d) White Jersey - Awarded to the best young finisher, Damiano Cunego proved worthy of it this year.

e) Best team - Best overall team performance, which went to team T-Mobile.

I would also recommend a time-trial jersey, but since there are no more than two time trials a clear winner cannot be established. This year saw Serhei Honchar(ukraine), with his unique swinging-riding style finish first in both the time-trials.

The other aspect of the tour is the video footage. Using motorcyles and helicopters, the organisers get the tour well covered. Helicopters prove specially useful when a breakaway from the peloton occurs. From far above, you can clearly see the breakaway and any attempts by the riders from the peloton to curb the breakaway. The sophistication in technology used in the tour is amazing: right from carbon steel frames to aerodynamic helmets and other bike accessories to the onboard computers in cars that let the breakaway group or the chasing group(the group that's chasing the leading group, not necessarily the peloton) know how far away they are from the peloton.

The tour is indeed a culmination of excellent organisation, sponsors, technological sophistication, strategies, attacks and chases, pure effort(team and individual) and plenty of fluids and food without which the riders would have a hard time staying on the course.

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