Understanding the Tour De France

Once a year, there is a bicycle race held in france, called the ‘Tour de France’. French is, of course, different from english, and frequently they take the first two letters of a word and put it at the end. So, the english ‘detour’ becomes ‘Tour De’ in french. So the ‘Tour de France’ means that they will be taking a lot of detours in france, because french people love going on strike and frequently leave the roads in a dug up state.

The race consists of different types of stages. There are the flat stages on which men with large hamstring muscles compete with each other for a green colored jersey, but more importantly, for kisses from nubile french lassies. But the organizers of the Tour De France restrict the kisses to three apiece, much to their chagrin. There is a polka dot jersey awarded to the person who climbs up mountains quickly. This is presented by women wearing polka dot umbrellas instead of skirts. This is handy if it starts raining during presentations. in 2010, this was won by a frenchman named Anthony Chartreau, who took this name because of his penchant for wearing chartreuse colored pants.

Yellow is the color of the race. The leader of the race wears a yellow jersey. The French call the person wearing the yellow  jersey ‘Major John’ for reasons unknown to anyone. In order to win the yellow jersey, contendors (also known as contadors in french or spanish) have to cycle over big mountains and flatlands.  Some of the big mountains in the 2010 stage included the ‘Col de Tourmalet’ which translates in English to ‘Hard to suck in enough air’, and ‘Col d’Aspin’ which is an abbreviation of ‘Its cold and climbing it will give you an ass-spank’

The leader of the 2010 race is known as ‘Contador’ since most people ‘can’t adore’ him. He caused a big controversy by sprinting up a big ass hill when his competitor Andy Schleck’s chain slipped. Andy Schelck claims to be from a country called ‘Luxembourg’ which very few people have been able to find thus far. Schleck also claims to be the national champion of Luxembourg. All the people who have successfully found Luxembourg say this is true, but they add that there are only two bicycles in the whole country. The other bicyle in Luxembourg belongs to his brother, Frank.

Lance Armstrong won the race seven times. His former teammate, Floyd Landis, accused him of taking drugs. So did another Tour De France winner, Greg Le Mond, who is, inexplicably, american in spite of his name. Lance is famous for wearing and selling yellow rubber bands.

Teams in the Tour De France are sponsored by companies. The US teams are sponsored by Radio Shack and by Garmin-Transitions. The Radio Shack team members are eligible for upto 10% off on any purchases (in store only). The Garmin team gets a free GPS, but all the riders turned it down since they are all using iphones. There is a team sponsored by ‘LiquiGas’, which is pronounced by as ‘LeakyGas’. It is unclear why a company would call itself LeakyGas, and why any bicyclist would be willing to say ‘I have Leaky Gas’.

On TV, the race is hosted by a group of four people. Craig Hummer moderates it . Craig invented the  Hummer automobile after a long bike ride one day when he thought. ‘This is crazy. I could be in an air conditioned car and climb over 16 inch walls if I were to invent the Hummer’. The second person is Bob Roll, who was a pro bike rider before he got disqualified for making expansive gestures with his hands, and then found that television audiences loved it. There are two Britishers, Paul Sherwin and Phil Liggett. They spend a lot of time polishing thier accent and arguing about whether Cant-Adore should have waited for Andy Schleck when his chain slipped.

The race always finishes in Paris, on the Champs-Élysées. This allows the riders to finish shopping for their spouses after the race finishes, without which they are not allowed back home.

Once the race is over, everyone goes home and sleeps for the next 3 months to get over their exhaustion. Especially the radio announcers who need time to recover from their excitement and relieve their vocal cords, which are  stressed from the  high pitched sounds they have made for three weeks in a row. Fans forget about bicycles till the next time the Tour De France starts. Many of them then pretend to be Tour De France riders and put on silly pants and shirts that cost $100. This gives them the privilege of advertising for large corporations.