The 2011 Tour de France by numbers

This year’s Tour has thrown up a whole feast of stats and facts. Some records were broken and others were equalled in what was an amazing three weeks of racing.

I’ve spent the last few days putting up a large amount of these stats on twitter. But if you’re not on the twitter or you missed a few I’ve compiled all the facts that have entered my head in the last week or so, right here. There’s also a few here that I haven’t mentioned at all yet.

Througout the Tour, the site’s traffic increased quite a bit so hello to any new readers. I’m kind of overwhelmed by the tweets and emails I’ve been getting thanking me for the constant stream of cycling trivia during the Tour. It’s great to know I’m not the only nerd who appreciates and gets excited about these sporting tidbits. So, on to the stats….

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Green jersey points breakdown: Is the system actually geared towards Cavendish?

Actual

Stephen Roche wrote in an article yesterday that he thought it would be an interesting exercise to calculate who would be leading the green jersey competition if the intermediate sprints were ignored and the points were assigned on the stage finishes alone.

Well, Roche’s wish is my command. His comments were made in relation to Mark Cavendish, so does this year’s points classification suit the Manxman more than last year’s?

Currently the green jersey standings in this year’s Tour de France are as follows:

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A hat-trick of domestique success

Christophe

In the early years of the Tour de France at the beginning of the 20th century, riders were forbidden from receiving help of any kind. The most famous and extreme example of this came in 1913 when Eugène Christophe was penalised three minutes for allowing a boy to work the bellows as he attempted to fix his own broken forks at a local forge.

On a more day to day basis, receiving no help meant that taking advantage of another rider’s slipstream was also forbidden. This rule was an attempt by the Tour organisers to ensure that truly the strongest rider ended up winning the Tour and not the rider who had received the most help.

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Team-mates in the Tour

TeamMateGraph

A fact I’ve become rather obsessed and impressed with over the last while is that Liquigas are on a run of seven straight Grand Tours in which all of their riders have finished the race. And currently they are one of only eight teams in the Tour de France who still have a full complement of riders.

The other teams still fully intact in the Tour are Saxo Bank, Leopard-Trek, BMC, Cofidis, Lampre, HTC-HighRoad and Saur-Sojasun. Importantly, Contador, the Schlecks, Evans and Basso all have full-strength squads to call on as the Tour finally reaches the mountains tomorrow.

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Cycling’s major nations go missing

The lads at Cycle Sport magazine have been churning out a heap of articles every day during this Tour de France, all available to read online. One of them in particular caught the eye yesterday. It alluded to the teams that have been winning stages in this year’s Tour.

Apart from Philippe Gilbert’s opening stage win, the rest of the victories have been divided amongst Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-High Road, BMC Racing and Team Sky. All relatively new teams, none of which hail from cycling’s traditional nations of mainland Europe.

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The Tour is more than just climbing and time-trialling

Alberto Contador was undoubtedly the biggest loser yesterday. The reigning Tour de France champion now finds himself 1’14” behind most of the other overall favourites as he got caught behind a crash which occurred with 9km to go. Only one stage has been raced and the Spaniard is forced to play catchup through no fault of his own.

But is he blameless? Could what happened yesterday have been prevented?

Stephen Roche once declared that to win the Tour you need four skills: climbing, time-trialling, tactical astuteness and an understanding of peloton diplomacy. Roche could tick all four boxes, but there are other skills required which Roche does not mention, perhaps because he takes them for granted – bike handling, descending and positioning.

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