Thirty-nine riders racing this year’s Tour are 25 or under. The list includes Roman Kreuziger (Astana), Geraint Thomas (Sky), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Ben Swift (Sky) and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad).
Goss won the Milano-Sanremo in March this year. His HTC team-mate, Van Garderen is racing in his first Tour de France at 22 years old. He finished fifth at the Tour of California this year and last year won a stage at the Vuelta a España.
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Frenchman Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) is youngest rider this year. The 21-year-old was born on September 11, 1989.
Thomas currently leads the young riders’ classification and wears the white leader’s jersey.
“I could get used to it,” Thomas said of the white top. “It’s always nice wearing this.”
He gained it on stage one, finishing sixth behind Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma-Lotto).
“A nice surprise as well because I hadn’t really thought about it to be honest. I thought maybe after the team time-trial if it went really well.”
After the team time trial yesterday, Sky’s Boasson Hagen is second overall on the same time as Thomas and Van Garderen is one second back, in third.
Record US riders in Tour
USA can celebrate not just for it’s Independence Day, but for its men in the Tour de France. A record-equalling 10 US riders are participating in the Tour this year. Not since 25 years ago in 1986, when team 7-Eleven made its debut and Davis Phinney took USA’s first stage win, has there been this many Americans.
The list in this year’s race includes veteran George Hincapie (BMC Racing), who is riding a record-equalling 16th Tour de France.
The race also includes a record number of USA-registered teams: RadioShack, HTC-Highroad, BMC Racing and Garmin-Cervélo. It’s a big step forward since 7-Eleven made its debut and part of the reason behind the number of American participants.
American Greg LeMond won the Tour in 1986, his first of three titles. He rode on the French team, La Vie Claire with Andy Hampsten. 7-Eleven featured Eric Heiden, Davis Phinney, Bob Roll, Alexi Grewal, Ron Kiefel, Chris Carmichael, Jeff Pierce and Doug Shapiro.
Besides Hincapie, this year’s race includes Tom Danielson, Tyler Farrar, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie (all Garmin-Cervélo), Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer (both RadioShack), Tejay Van Garderen and Danny Pate (both HTC-Highroad) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing).
The numbers since 1986: 1986 (10), 1987 (7), 1988 (6), 1989 (5), 1990 (7), 1991 (5), 1992 (5), 1993 (3), 1994 (3), 1995 (2), 1996 (3), 1997 (6), 1998 (6), 1999 (8), 2000 (9), 2001 (8), 2002 (9), 2003 (6), 2004 (7), 2005 (9), 2006 (8), 2007 (6), 2008 (4), 2009 (7), 2010 (8) and 2011 (10).
Jonathan Boyer was the first American to compete and finish the Tour de France in 1981.
Cycling Weekly spotted several top teams fiddling with their riders’ saddles ahead of yesterday’s team time trial. BMC Racing was concerned that its saddles were dead-level, and for good reason.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) decided to enforce it’s rule, 1.3.014. It says the saddle needs to be horizontal, and the length of the saddle shall be 24 cm minimum and 30 cm maximum.
Saxo Bank’s sports director, Bradley McGee, and RadioShack’s team manager, Johan Bruyneel apparently were too hard on the UCI officials checking the bikes. The officials fined them based on rule 12.1.040.29, for “insults, threats, unseemly behaviour.” Both received the maximum fine, 200CHF (or £146.80).
Teams were surprised that the officials decided to enforce the rule so stickily, when, as Bruyneel said, it had been lenient in races such as the Critérium du Dauphiné. Read more in this week’s Cycling Weekly.
Watson’s driver awarded
Graham Watson’s driver and former motorcycle pilot, Jacky Koch celebrates 20 years of covering the Tour de France – that’s just over a year on the road.
The race’s director, Christian Prudhomme awarded the Frenchmen the Trophée de la Fidélité this morning at the start in Olonne-sur-Mer.
@MarkCavendish on Philippe Gilbert’s attack and stage win Saturday.
“Just saw today’s last kilometre. Gilbert humbled everyone with the equivalence of pulling down his pants to reveal a 13-incher. #YIKES”
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Tour de France 2011: Stage reports
Stage two: Garmin win team time trial to put Hushovd in yellow
Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start
Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries
Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW’s text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2011: Archive videos
Video: 2003 Centenary Tour
Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective
Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour
Video: Guerini’s 1999 stage win
Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour
Video: Armstrong in 1999
Video: The Indurain years
Video: Ladies of the Tour
Video: Best of bizarre
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean
Potted history of the Tour de France
The closest Tours in history
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Tour de France 2011: Older news items
Cavendish to start all three grand tours in 2011
2011 Tour de France teams named
Tour de France 2011: Route details
The mountains of the 2011 Tour de France
Cavendish challenging for up to eight stages in 2011 Tour