Never underestimate the power of one wheel drive!


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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Yet another thing of cycling beauty

When I recently fitted my Brooks Team Pro saddle to my commuter bike, I was unsable to fit the saddle pack I had been using as the rail spacing was too wide. As a result, my spare tubes and tools were carried in my pannier. The outcome of this was them migrating to the bottom of the bag, hiding under the poly bag I use as a waterproof liner. Not an ideal situation so I decided to invest in some new luggage.

After a bit of research, I decided to invest in a Carradice Barley-

Carradice of Nelson are manufacturers of a range of bike luggage, clothing and other equipment. The Barley saddle bag is from their "Originals" range which hark back to their begginings. In the early 1930's, keen cyclist Wilf Carradice was looking for a good saddle bagbut was unable to find what he wanted. He had the brainwave of trying to make one for himself. His resulting bag was so succesful that his friends started to aske him the make bags for them. Carradice of Nelson was born. Their craftsmanship (or craftswomanship) is plain to see. Their Originals (and possibly othet ranges) are all signed by the person who made them. Mine is a Christine

My Barley is made from traditional materials- Cotton Duck, a tight weave heavy duty cotton fabric proofed with naturally sourced waterproofing and leather straps. As I said, it is a thing of cycling beauty and, being British made, complements my Brooks saddle perfectly

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The boy done good

As did the Aussie!

Well done to Cadel Evans on finally nailing the yellow jersey in Paris. A really gutsy performance in the Alps. I think there are going to be some very overhung Aussie heads for the next few days.

Even better though was Mark Cavendish finishing the Tour with his third Champs Elysees victory in a row and winning the Green Jersey overall. Last year Cav became the first rider ever to win in Paris two years in a row. Doing it three times just confirms what many along with I think. Cav is now a legend.

Congratulations also go out to Samuel Sanchez for his King of the Mountains victory, Pierre Rolland for his Best young Rider win and to Team Garmin Cervelo for taking the Best team prize.

This year has been the most exiting Tour I can remember. The organisers came up with a cunning plan to liven things up. It worked a treat! Roll on next year!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Rest day

So our heroes are taking a well deserved rest day today, not that they won't get out and ride for a couple of hours just to keep the legs moving.

The last few days have been very interesting, watching the GC contenders watching each other and apparently not knowing what to do. I expected at least one of them to use the Pyrenees as a spring board and launch an attack on the rest of the contenders and maybe pull out a decent lead. I expected wrong. What the indecision from the favourites has done however, is leave Thomas Voeckler in the yellow jersey. It has now reached the stage where everyone (except Tommy himself) thinks he can do the whole hog and win the Tour. The Alps will be extremely telling. If Tommy can dig in and hang on in the Alps like he has in the Pyrenees, the favourites will have to do him in the individual time trial on the penultimate day.

It was nice to see Jens Voigt doing what Jens Voigt does best the other day. Two unscheduled dismounts and he still gets back on board and makes the rest of the peleton feel pain. I love that guy!

A Layman's (or Laywoman's) guide to the Tour de France part the second.

Some tactics.

Just about every road stage in the Tour involves one or more riders launching themselves off the front of the peleton after a few kilometres in a break. Why? Well, sometimes this is for commercial reasons. A lone rider (or small group) gets a lot of airtime on TV and this is very good exposure for the team sponsors. Other breaks are for good tactical reasons. The protagonists might be feeling good and believe they have a chance to win the stage. Generally, if there is no one in the breakaway that is a GC threat, the peleton will allow them to build up a considerable time advantage only for a team to start upping the pace to reel them in. More often than not, this reeling in process is completed in the last 3-5 kilometres however, sometimes it can go right down to the wire, with the break getting swallowed up in the final few hundred meters. Occasionally, the break will succeed and one of them wins the stage. I believe this was more prevalent in the days before all the riders were in radio contact with the team cars. A break could launch and the peleton might get its calculations wrong in the chase, or they might think they had caught the breakaway but not realise that a lone rider had broken away from the breakaway. Technology is progress though, right?

By this I mean the practice of riders following each other very closely. Why? Well, apart form the sections of a stage where a climb is going on, the most difficult thing for a rider to do is cut through the air. If a line of cyclists are riding along, each rider only separated by a couple of inches between back and front wheels, the lead rider is probably putting in as much as 20% more effort than the rider behind him/ her. If you look at the peleton closely, the riders across the front of the bunch may all be down on the drops of their handlebars, pedalling hard to make progress. Those in the middle of the bunch may well be sitting up on the hoods, hardly turning a pedal, chatting away. This is because their effort level to maintain the pace does not include breaking through the air.

In a small group of riders, you will see them in a file, riding what is known as through and off. In this instance, the lead rider will stay on the front for a few hundred meters and then you will see him/ her flick their arm as a signal for the following rider to come through to the front as they peel off and tag on at the back for a slight rest. As the group progresses they take repeating turns at the front.

Some riders may abuse this slightly to increase their chance of a win by feigning fatigue and either taking very short stints at the front or just hanging on at the back or wheel sucking.

The ultimate exhibition of drafting is the Lead Out Train. This is a tactic used by the teams who have a sprinter to challenge for a stage win. They will probably be the teams that are dictating the pace of the peleton in the chase to reel in the breakaway. In the last couple of kilometres you will see the team trying to hold a line with their sprinter at the back. The lead rider of the line will ride as hard as they can to keep the pace high, limiting the opportunities for a last minute lone rider break. As they run out of steam they break off and the next rider keeps the pace going. This repeats until the last 500 meters or so when the last lead out rider goes hell for leather with the sprinter right behind him/ her. Their mission is to use all their energy to deliver their sprinter to a position where he/ she can kick out from behind them and take the stage win. HTC are prime examples of this skill with Mark Renshaw being the man who delivers Mark Cavendish to the line. Cav can (and does) win stages by following the wheel of other sprinters but, his team have become experts at bossing the peleton and putting mark on the launch pad. He rarely lets them down and his appreciation of their hard work is evident in his interviews.

These are diagonal lines of riders combating cross winds. A cross wind is very disruptive to the peleton as shelter from a headwind is easier to find and organise- just get riders in front and swap out regularly. Having a diagonal line only works for the riders in that line. Once the edge of the road is reached, another echelon has to be formed for the tactic to be effective. Because of this, an astute team can cause chaos and, with a perfectly timed acceleration, cause a split in the bunch. The reason a split occurs is because concentration lapses with fatigue and combating a cross wind is hard work.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Catch up

A good couple of days on the Tour recently. Europcars Tommy Voeckler maitaining the Yellow Jersey, Johnny Hoogerland not only continuing to race but holding on to the Polka Dot Jersey, Mark Cavendish winning another stage and now in the Green jersey. NO SERIOUS INCIDENTS!

Lets hopet his can continue.

A big shout out to Johnny Hoogerland though. Watching him step off the podium today, he looked to be really stiff and sore. Hardly surprising after 33 stitches. Jens Voigt better look out. He has competition!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

What an aweful day on the road.

Todays 9th stage of the Tour de France was marred by a couple of incidents which were bad, but could have been much worse.

The first was a crash involving a number of riders where it looks like someone overcooked it on a bend and went down. Others followed but the problem was they were on the outside of the bend on a descent and many went over the barrier and down the hill. Astanas Alexandre Vinkourov was one of those and he has had to abandon with a fractured femur and possible broken hip. A horrible end to what he was billing as his last TdF. Also involved were Dave Zabriskie of Garmine Cervelo (retired with fractured wrist) , Omega Pahrma Lotto leader Jurgen Van Den Broek (retired with broken shoulder blade) and Frederik Willems also of Omega Pharma Lotto (retired- broken collar bone). Others went down in tbe crash including David Millar of Garmin Cervelo but were able to continue.

Whilst this was going on, a breakaway including the ultimate winner of the stage Thomas Voekler of Europcar, Sandy Cassar of Francais des Jeaux, Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil DCM, Juan Antonio Flecha of Team Sky were up the road some 4 or 5 minutes.

In another moment of madness, a TV car started to pass some of the breakaway riders on their left. It suddenly swerved to avoid a tree the driver obviously hadn't noticed, colliding with Flecha who went down heavily on the road. As he did so, Hoogerland was unable to avoid him and hit him, sending him off the road and tangling him up with a barbed wire fence. Flecha was able to get up and running again quite quickly but Hoogerland needed extracating from the fence. Elsewhere on the web are images of Johnny tangled in the fence and with his shorst ripped to shreds. I'm not going to link to them because they are not pleasant for Johnny but, the evidence of his pain is there to see. Later footage showed him with blood streaming down his legs whilst one of the Tour doctors treats him on the move. It turned out he needed a total of 33 stiches in various injuries to his calf, buttocks and thigh. He finished the stage 16'44" down, 139th of 180 finishers. His efforts today saw him taking the King of the Mountains jersey. He was quite tearful on the podium. In his interview after the presentation he was very composed and forgiving of the driver. He put things in perspective reminding everyone that he and the others were still alive. Other incidents this year have been worse. Respect to Johnny.

Tomorrow is a rest day and hopefuly the time will enable a lot of sore riders to recover. It will also give Christian Prudhomme, the Tour Director, time to decide what he and the Tour staff are going to do to reduce the risk posed to the riders by dodgy drivers/ moto riders. Two incidents this Tour are two too many.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Sweet and Sour

That is my take on yesterdays stage of the Tour- the sweetness of another stage win for Mark Cavendish marred by Bradley Wiggins leaving the tour with a broken collar bone. Bradley was on good form this year and I believe he was a contender for a podium place. Give him his dues though, the interview he gave as he left the hospital was quality. The morphine or whatever it was that was killing the pain made him very entertaining.

Anothet casualty of yesterdays crash was Radio Shacks Chris Horner. The winner of this years Tour of California ended up in a ditch in the same incident as Bradley. He obviuosly took a serious crack on the head as, after he crossed the line, he had no memory of the crash and didn't understand why he had finished 12 minutes down. As he was being laid on a stretcher to be taken to hospital afetr finishing, he was still asking if he had finished and where he was. He was withdrawn from the race this morning.

Also retiring before the off today was Tom Boonen. His crash on stage 5 I think it was, also resulted in a concussion, which he was still suffering from. That meant 189 riders staretd this morning.

Today was the first day of more serious climbing with the first category 2 climb of the race and the finish being at the top of a category 3 climb at the ski station at Super Besse. A 9 man break headed out after 6 kilometers and one of them- Movistars Rui Alberto Costa hung on for the remaining 183 kilometers to take the stage. A great ride.

In the peleton, the usual suspects were together, Alberto Contador, Andy and Frank Schleck and Cadel Evans. Cadel finished ahead of the rest but on the same time. He looks in good shape so far.

Not the sort of stage for MArk Cavendish but he got 3 more points for the green jersey.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Sky 1

Well done to Team Sky in general and specifically Edvald Boasson Hagen for notching up their first Tour stage win. A really good effort and a much deserved result. The smile on David Brailsfords face was good to see. This could be the boost the team needs to help it settle and capitalise on its good performance so far this tour.

Not so well done to Levi Leipheimer. He lost 1’05” on the main bunch, finishing 91st. His problem was caused by the road markings. White lines and other markings can get very slippery in the rain and yesterday was very wet. It looked like he was on the outside of the bunch, to the right of the road and he drifted onto an edge marking and down he went.

Looking at the start list for yesterday, I saw that the Euskaltel Euskadi rider that I had seen laying in the gutter on stage 5 was Ivan Velasco. He had to retire with a broken collar bone. Hard luck Ivan. He finished the stage on Wednesday, rolling in 12' 43" down on the winner in 193rd place. Gutsy stuff riding with a broken collar bone.

At the start of this morning- stage 7 from Le Mans to Châteauroux, there have been 5 withdrawals, so the race is currently running with 193 riders. Stage 7 is about as flat a stage as you get and looks to be an ideal opportunity for mark Cavendish to add to his tally of wins. In fact, Châteauroux is the scene of his first ever TdF win.

Come on Cav, give it some mate.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Now thats what I'm talking about!

What an epic stage that was yesterday! There are more than a few riders licking their wounds and feeling sore this morning.

I can’t believe how many crashes there were, all on what looked to be very innocuous roads. Bradley Wiggins, Sylvain Chavanel, Laurens Ten Dam and Levi Leipheimer all got involved in a crash early on, necessitating Wiggo having to swap his bike for a while whilst the Team Sky mechanics put it right for him.

Next, Team Radioshack leader Janez Brajkovic crashed with Rabobank rider Robert Gesink. Brajko had to retire and was taken to hospital with a minor head injury and apparently, a busted collar bone. GWS Brajko.

Not content to miss out on the tarmac kissing, the next star to fall was Alberto Contador. He seemed unflappable and just calmly waited for his team car to help him out. He soon lost his cool slightly however as he was seen throwing his bike down whilst waiting for his mechanics later.

Nicki Sorensen got tangled up with a passing Tour motorbike which dumped him onto the verge and tangled his bike up with a passing team car, dragging it 200 yards down the road.

Another crash involved one or two Euskatel Eskadi riders and one was left laying in the gutter for a while. I hope he was OK.

Tom Boonen was also felled, along with team mate Gert Steegmans and Lars Boom of Rabobank. Tom looked very sore, with much road rash and, for a little while I feared he had bust his collar bone also. He rode on but seemed to be favouring his right arm as if in lots of pain.

That wasn’t the end of Tom’s trouble. In the earlier intermediate sprint, Tom, Jose Rojas and Mark Cavendish were all pushing for the 5th spot. Tom and Rojas were all over the road, baulking Cav. Tom and Rojas had their points docked by the commissars after the end of the race. This dropped Rojas out of the Green jersey position, which he had been awarded on the podium post race.

With the main peleton going hard and post crash stragglers trying hard to catch up, with just over 30 km to go Europcars leader (and a top bloke) Thomas Voeckler launched himself off the front in an attack. He was followed by Francaise Des Jeux rider Jeremey Roy and they hung it out there until the 3 km to go banner when Roy got swallowed up. Tommy managed to keep it going for another kilometre but soon got caught.

It was then down to the lead out riders. HTC booster rockets Tony Martin and Matt Goss were in line at the Flamme Rouge (1 km to go banner) and were riding hard. I think Cav had this planned. It was an uphill finish and he wanted the run in to be so fast that others couldn’t launch a sprint. He just stuck to the fastest wheels he could and went for it with about 300m, at which stage he was down in 9th or 10th. He just flew and managed to get past Philippe Gilbert with about 25m left. Now that’s what I’m talking about (thanks Big Al Simpson, my IPMBA Instructor trainer for that one).

That is stage win number 16 for Cav and that puts him up there with Tour legend and 5 time winner Jaques Anquetil. It also gets him back into the points competition fight.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Freedom of the Press?

This post is inspired by my disgust at the developing News of the World phone hacking debacle.

Recent allegations suggest that Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was jailed for 6 months in 2007 for unlawfully intercepting other persons voicemail messages, managed to hack into the voicemail on the mobile phone of Millie Dowler. The suggestion is that Mulcaire listened to frantic messages from Millie’s family and, when the mailbox was full, deleted messages to make room for more. The fact that messages were being accessed and deleted was probably available to Police investigating her disappearance. The obvious conclusion to draw was that Millie was probably alive. We know this not to be the case as Millie’s body was found 6 months later and, last month Levi Bellfield convicted of her murder.

This activity is, in my mind, outrageous and indefensible. It is only right and proper that the Press maintains its freedom to investigate and report as this is an important weapon in the fight against wrong BUT, there are limits beyond which even a totally free press may not step. Mulcaire overstepped. Anyone in the hierarchy at the News of the World, News International or News Corp with knowledge of this activity needs to be brought to book.

Aussie Rules

Way to go Cadel!

A gutsy ride by Cadel Evans and good support from the Team BMC after the mechanical within the last 20km or so. Just hung on long enough to pip Alberto Contador by the width of a tyre at the line.

Not the sort of stage to suit Mark Cavendish who, after gaining 7 points on the intermediate sprint, rolled in with the rest of the sprinters 4 minutes 17 seconds down.

Today could be another for him to target though. The route between Carhaix and Cap Fréhel is 165km and include only one categorised climb, the 4th cat. Cõte de Gurnhuel at 45.5 km. The rest of the stage is relatively easy going with gentle rolling hills, setting up for a sprint finish?

What could put the cat amongst the pigeons however is the fact that the last 70km run lose to or along the Brittany coast so, wind could play a major part.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Well done Tyler Farrar. Not so well done the Commissars

At last Garmin Cervelo rider Tyler Farrar has got a TdF stage win under his belt. A good sprint by him and his team. It was quite moving to see him saluting his friend Wouter Weylandt who we lost at the Giro Click for image and story

Tyler and Wouter were best friends and Tyler was absolutely devastated by his loss.

For me though, the stage was spoiled by the reaction of the Commissars to what they must have thought was outrageously dangerous riding. Disqualifying Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd from the intermediate sprint results. Yes there was a bit of contact but hey, that is what sprinters do. It looked like Thor wanted to get onto the wheel of the rider ahead of Cav, which is a legitimate tactic. Cav wasn't going to let him, which is also a legitimate tactic. Thor tried to ease Cav out of the way, Cav leaned into Thor a bit to stop him. Both are experienced and skilled sprinters so, no risk, no danger, no problem- unless you are a Commissar.

The Commissars are the 'referees' of the race, keeping an eye on wht is going on, ruling on any disputes and dealing with any breaches of the rules. This time they got it wrong, horribly wrong. If sprinters are going to be penalised every time there is a bit of contact in the race, things are going to get very pedestrian and boring.

Thor lost 4 points in this but Cav, who was first across the line in the peleton (but 6th across the line in total because of the breakaway), lost 10 points. Thor apparently offered to take the punishment alone but Cav was still disqualified. A nice gesture by Thor.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Tour continues

Well done to Team Garmin Cervelo winning todays Team Time Trial and getting Thor Hushovd into the Yellow Jersey and David Millar into second on the same time. A very good ride. In fact, there were a few good rides today, BMC surprising many by getting second spot and putting Cadel Evans into third in the GC, just 4 seconds off the pace. Team Sky had a good run at it also, finishing third and getting Geraint Thomas up to 4th in the GC, also 4 seconds off the pace. If Sky play their cards right over the next few days, Geraint could find himslef in Yellow, the first Welshman to do so. Give it some G!

Mark Cavendish and the boys had a good ride, finishing in 5th place. They were hindered today though as they lost Bernard Eisel from the train very early. It looked like he and another HTC team member may have touched wheels in a tight left bend which took Bernard down. The course being so short, they rest of the boys couldn't really afford to wait for him so they had one less person to take their turn on the front. Chin up guys. Early days.

And they're off!

So the Tour is under way.

A good stage today to get the ball rolling (or at least I thought so). Good result for Phillipe Gilbert, he's having a stonking year! Not so good for Alberto, what with being on the wrong side of that big crash with about 10k to go. Over a minute and a half down I think.
I bet that spectator that collected the Astana rider to set crash in action has got a sore shoulder.

It looks like the organisers have changed the rules for the points competition. Instead of 2 or three intermediate sprints earning the firs three riders 3, 2 and 1 points, this year there is just one intemediate sprint per stage with 20 points on offer to the first rider and the next 14 riders also earn points. The stage finishes have different points totals as well-

On Flat stages, first place takes 45 points, then 35, 30, 26, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2.
On Medium Mountains stages, first place takes 30 points, then 25, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
On High Mountain stages, first place takes 20, then 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
For Time Trial stages, first place takes 20, then 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
This seems, on first glance, to favour the sprinters like Mark Cavendish. It may result in some tactical changes however. We will have to see.

More on tactics when I do the next Laymans (or Laywomans) guide.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Allez Allez!

This evening sees the commencement of my annual three weeks of staying up late to watch the highlights of the days Tour de France stage.

The race actually starts tomorrow but, British Eurosport being the Damn Good Eggs that they are, are showing a Mark Cavendish special plus two previews, one about the main contenders for the race and the other being the official introduction of the teams.

Seeing as how Cav is the Official Pro Cyclist of The Secret Cyclist blog (not that he knows, but I know), it would be very remiss of me not to watch him wouldn’t it? The other two programmes are proper fan fodder and I will watch them cos it is cycling on the tellybox, which is A Good Thing.

A Layman’s (or Laywoman’s) guide to the Tour de France (TdF) Part 1

The TdF starts on the first Saturday in July each year and finishes on the Sunday, 3 weeks later. This entails 21 days racing with 2 rest days. This year, the rest days are between stages 9 and 10 and stages 15 and 16.

Most years, the first day is a prologue, a short Time Trial stage of 5 to 10 kilometres. This year however, stage 1 is a full on mass start stage of 191.5 kilometres.

There are 4 types of stage in the Tour. Time Trail (TT) stages, ‘flat stages’, medium mountain stages and high mountain stages.

For TT stages each rider sets off individually at timed intervals. Stage lengths are between 20 to 50 kilometres roughly and it is literally a race against the clock. There is another TT type, called the Team Time Trial (TTT) where each team sets off together and rides as fast as it can over the course. The Teams time is taken as the 5th rider crosses the line. If all 9 members of the team finish together, they get the time of the 5th rider. If the team splits, the first 5 riders get the time of the 5th rider. The remaining riders get their own actual time.

Team Lampre's TT bikes at Monaco the day before the prologue for the TdF 2009

Cav on the prologue in Monaco for the TdF 2009

Flat stages are pretty much just that, flat of lightly rolling roads with no climbs of note. These tend to be targeted by sprinters for stage wins.

A team Liquigas Cannondale being prepared for Stage 1 of the 2009 TdF (Mrs Secret Cyclist in the background)

Medium mountain stages involve more strenuous climbing but not the really hard mountains.

High mountains are just that, lung busting, leg killing mountain passes and summit finishes.

There are 5 separate competitions within the race as follows-

The General Classification (GC). The leader in the GC is the leader of the race overall. He is identified by the fabled Yellow Jersey (Maillot Jaune). This is the rider with the smallest aggregate time for the race at the start of each stage. Contenders for the ultimate prize need to be very good all round riders. In recent years, contenders have been strong climbers with good time trialling ability.

The Points Competition, often called the Sprinters competition. The leader in this competition is identified as he wears the Green Jersey (Maillot Vert). Each road stage includes one or two intermediate sprints. Points are awarded in descending order to the first three riders across the line- 6, 4 then 2 points. The same happens at the end of stages also but, a stage winner can gain up to 35 points on a flat stage, with the first 25 riders earning points down to 1 point. On Medium Mountain stages it is the first 20 riders with the points range between 25 and 1. On High Mountain stages the first 15 riders earn between 15 and 1 point. TT stages also have points, ranging between 15 and 1 for the first 10 riders.
The winner of the point’s competition is the rider with most points who finishes the Tour

King of the Mountains (KoM) who is identified by the Polka Dot jersey (Maillot a pois rouges). This is a white jersey with red polka dots. This competition is another point’s competition, where the points are earned by being in the first number of riders to cross the line on climbs. The climbs in the TdF fall into 5 different categories, depending on their length, gradient and where they occur in a stage.
The easiest climbs are 4th category climbs with 3, 2 and 1 points being awarded to the first 3 across the line.
Next is 3rd cat climbs with between 4 and 1 points awarded to the first 4 riders.
2nd cat climbs have the first 6 riders earning between 10 and 5 points.
1st cat climbs earn the first 8 riders between 15 and 5 points.
That leaves climbs that are beyond classification or Hors Categorie (HC). These are the steepest, longest and hardest climbs in the Tour. The first 10 riders on HC climbs earn between 20 and 5 points.
The winner of the KoM completion is the rider with most climbing points who finishes the Tour.

Best Young Rider who is identified by the White Jersey (Maillot Blanc). This competition is amongst all riders under 26 years of age as of 1st January that year. The leader in the competition is the qualifying rider highest up the GC competition.

The Team Competition is similar to the GC but is worked out using the time of the best three riders of each team, each day. The team leading this competition is identified by the numbers on their jerseys being black numbers on a yellow background as opposed to the standard black on white.

It is common for the same rider to lead several competitions. In the event this is the case, he wears the jersey of the higher competition so, a rider leading the points and GC competition would wear the yellow jersey. The rider second in the lower competition then wears the competition jersey. As a result, not every rider you see wearing a competition jersey is actually the leader (apart from the GC jersey).

Not a competition but, seen by many fans of the race as a badge of honour, is the Lantern Rouge or red Lantern. This is the rider last in the overall classification- the rider who has taken the longest time so far. In early years, the Lantern Rouge was just that, a small red light on the back of that rider’s bike. I think (though am not certain at the moment) that the Lantern Rouge wears red numbers on a white background.

More later.