Five Things to Watch in the Tour de France 2011
Less than 48 hours from now the biggest cycling event of the 2011 season - the legendary Tour de France Grand Tour - will start in Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts. The three-week race is known for its many historic events and experiences and the 2011 edition is not likely to disappoint the millions of viewers who follow the event closely from all five continents of the world.
clothing they wear during the rest of the season, and how come they don't wear a special hot weather kit in the even warmer Vuelta a Espana like they do in the Tour? How many teams will present new team kits for use in the Tour de France this year? Count and do the math yourself.
The UCI has worked hard to introduce a radio communication ban over the past months, but has failed because of protests from team staff and not least many riders. The UCI claims radio communication on the road distorts the nature of the sport, making races more uninteresting and predictable to watch for viewers. Teams and riders claim the use of earpieces makes riders safer and, therefore, helps prevent accidents. Radio communication and earpieces will be used in this year's Tour de France. Roadcycling.com supports a radio ban because a ban will make pro cycling so much more exciting for viewers and readers worldwide. The riders must be treated as the humans they are and do not deserve to be remotely controlled by sports directors as if they were robots. Intelligent riders support the radio ban because the ban will make races much more interesting to watch for viewers, thereby attracting more viewers. This will increase sponsorship revenues, resulting in increased wages for riders. Further, the removal of radio communication will transfer a major part of the control and responsibility currently held by the sports directors to the riders. Over time this should result in increased wages for the riders. While you watch the 2011 Tour, consider how the stages would have been ridden if the UCI had succeeded at introducing a radio ban.
Doping and Anti-Doping
Yes, the ever popular D-word is unfortunately still relevant. With one, now-former, Omega Pharma-Lotto team official being fired earlier this week for importing illegal substances just in time for the Tour de France, some pro cycling analysts predict that doping will be a dominant topic during this year's Tour. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the UCI are working as hard as ever to catch riders who cheat in the Tour and the French anti-doping authorities usually have at least one ace up their sleeve ready for use during the Le Tour. French daily newspaper L'Equipe, which is controlled by Tour de France owner A.S.O., may have some interesting stories in their news pipeline too. Will authorities make an example of Alberto Contador by excluding him during the Tour, forcing Team Saxo Bank-SunGard to replace its current captain with Chris Anker Sørensen? Will A.S.O. show signs of finally being ready to welcome back Michael Rasmussen to the Tour after he's been unwelcome in the Tour for so many years in spite of never testing non-negative for doping substances. Will any teams who have laid more or less dormant for a long time suddenly sparkle again in magic fashion in the Tour de France 2011? Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi during the Tour to find out.
We wish all our readers around the globe a very joyful Tour.