IMAGINE cycling through mountains, fields, cities and towns for 21 days with the whole world watching. Well that is what a peloton* of 198 riders will do when they set off to tackle the 104th Tour de France.
The Tour is regarded as the most important race each year for endurance road cyclists.
This year it will kick off from the city of Dusseldorf in neighbouring Germany on July 1.
Each year the route for the race changes slightly, but it always takes place on French soil and sometimes includes a section of a nearby country.
Riders and spectators, watching from the road or the couch, can take in views of the Pyrenees and European Alps mountain ranges and marvel as the riders sweat past picturesque fields.
The endurance race always finishes on the Champs-Élysées, in the French capital of Paris, which this year will be July 21.
First organised in 1903 and held each year since, except during World War I and II, the tour has a rich history of sporting excellence.
It is one of three main cycling events each year: the Tour de France in France, the Giro d’Italia in Italy and Vuelta a España in Spain.
Cadel Evans is the only Australian to have ever won the event, taking first place in 2011 when he was aged 34.
“I couldn’t be any happier. A few people always believed in me. I always believed in me. And we did it,” Evans said after he won.
“What can I say? I’ve been dreaming of winning the Tour de France for the past 20 years, ever since I was a 14-years-old.”
Cycling fans flock to the course each year to spectate but also to ride. The Étape du Tour sees amateur* cyclists tackle a portion of the Tour de France a few days before the elite athletes roll through. This year 15,000 riders are expected to attend the amateur event.
Nine Australian’s raced in 2016 but it was English cyclist Chris Froome who won with a combined total time of 89 hours, 4 minutes and 48 seconds. It was his third time winning the race.
TOUR DE FRANCE FACTS
• Firmin Lambot was oldest person ever to win the Tour, taking top spot aged 36 in 1922.
• The youngest ever victor was Henri Comet who won aged 19 in 1904.
• In recent years, around 15 million people have lined the Tour route to cheer on cyclists.
• Locals have nicknamed the event “la grande boucle”, which is French for “the big loop”.
peloton: pack of cyclists
amateur: not professional
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Activity 1. Interview with a champion
How great would it be to interview the winner of the Tour de France!?
Brainstorm a list of at least 10 questions you could ask them.
Maybe you want to know how they prepared for the Tour.
Perhaps you’d ask them about the best or worst moment.
You could ask them how they felt as they crossed the finish line.
Ask them anything!
Write detailed answers to these questions about the Tour de France.
What is the Tour de France?
Where will the Tour de France take place?
When is the Tour de France?
Who was last year’s winner?
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education
Activity 2. The things you’d see
The article asks you to “imagine cycling through mountains, fields, cities and towns…”
Fold an A3 sheet of paper in half and in half again and open it back out to make four vertical panels.
On the first panel create a mountain scene, on the second panel a field, the third a city and the last a town.
Make sure there is a road that runs continuously through your scenes.
Now draw and cut out a person on a bike and attach to your image.
As an additional challenge, you could do each of your panels in a different medium, like crayons, pencils and watercolours.
Make a list of things that France is famous for.
Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Visual Arts
(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)
With a partner, you are going to play your own version of a Cycling Race. The only difference is you will be racing to add a noun, verb or adjective to a word! Player 1 must write down a Noun, Verb or Adjective. Player 2 then must add to the word to score a point.
Example: If Player 1 writes down the word Cyclist, Player 2 must then add an adjective or a verb (because the first word is a Noun)
Eg: Cyclist = fast
Then Player 2 writes down a word. Player 1 must then add to it.
Eg: Swift = Car
After playing for 1-2 minutes, see who has the most points. Whoever has the most wins a Stage of the Tour deVocab. Play another Round (Stage) to see if the winning player can hold off the opposition.
Who will be wearing the yellow jersey after Stage 2?
Extension: Play this activity with a group of 2-4. Award a point to the person who can add a word the fastest! Having more players will make it more like an actual race of the Tour!
Time: allow approxomately 15 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP
Activity provided by Andrell Education, www.andrelleducation.com.au