TOUR DE FRANCE TRUE FACTS

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Incredible but true 3.:
Jonathan Vaughters is famous for having to leave the Tour in 2001 due to a wasp sting. What he will only tell a few close confidants is that it was actually severe reaction to Laurent Brochard’s mullet.

Incredible but true:

1. Three time winner and all-round nice guy Alberto Contador is nicknamed Bertie because of a horrific birth defect that left him resembling a series of well placed Liquorice Allsorts. Surgery not only saved him from his cannibalistic siblings, it gave him the confidence to use a really naff victory salute.

Alberto Contador / Bertie Bassett
Alberto Contador

2. The green jersey was originally introduced in the Fifties as a politically correct way of allowing aliens to compete. When it was realised that aliens do not have legs, merely a slug-like foot, the prize was offered to the first guy across the line who looked like an alien. Francesco Moser was disqualifed from the competition after it was discovered he was wearing an alien mask, as he was in fact gorgeous.

Francesco Moser / A slug
Francesco Moser (cheat)

3. Jonathan Vaughters is famous for having to leave the Tour in 2001 due to a wasp sting. What he will only tell a few close confidants is that it was actually severe reaction to Laurent Brochard’s mullet.

Jonathan Vaughters, stung
Just after Brochard passed by in the Tour Village, as Vaughters innocently fetched an expresso.

laurent Brochard, mullet

Laurent Brochard – The Coolest Man in Showbiz

4. Le Tour du Feminine is not in fact a women’s race, but a chance for the chaps to let their hair down, wear summery dresses and arrange wild mountain flowers in their panniers. Olaf Ludwig holds the record for the most wins, due to his coy smile and brilliantly co-ordinated wardrobe of Jimmy Choos.

Ludwig dresses up
Olaf Ludwig poses before a crucial time trial

5. The Galibier is so high that gravity is half that of sea level. You can jump onto Alpe d’Huez if you put your back into it.

Fuglsang flies
Jacob Fuglsang making the jump in low gravity (thanks to @bazzargh)

6. Damiano Cunego is the tallest rider in Tour history. The nickname "Little Prince" is ironic. People think he’s small, but he’s actually far away.

7. David Millar is famously an expert time-triallist. But this ability is a sham. His tyres are filled with millions of tiny miniaturised penguins that dart and swim in a viscous oxygenating fluid, creating eddies of electromagnetic traction. This causes the wheels to spin madly. The penguins are so effective that Millar has to use enormous hydraulic brakes that are disguised by deep section carbon rims. He time trials at an average speed of 331mph in training, which gets right on Dave Zabriskies’ wick.

Garmin Cervelo team penguins awaiting miniaturisation
Garmin Cervelo team penguins awaiting miniaturisation

8. People think Cadel Evans’ nickname is Cuddles. Well it’s not, it’s Cudgels. He only has a VO2max of 12, so he uses a blunt weapon to beat riders senseless behind the signing-on stand before races. He missed a few riders before the 2009 World Championships and was forced to carry a truncheon slipped into the front of his bibshorts. You can see him repeatedly thwacking Fabian Cancellara around the kidneys if you slow down footage of the race.

2009 Men’s World Champ Road Race

9. Modern bicycle frames are made with layers of carbon bonded together. Before carbon all bikes were made with victoria sponge cake, which was then covered in a protective coat of fondant icing. Carbon was only brought in when framebuilders realised they just couldn’t be bothered with the baking and washing up afterwards.

Cervelo research lab image
Inside Cervelo’s Research Lab, circa 1998.

10. French hero Bernard Hinault is called The Badger because he has a huge arse.

The Badger, huge arse in tow
Greg Lemond’s constant bullying references to Bernie’s posterior regularly left him in floods of tears.

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