July 25, 2014
The Multilingual Tour

Which languages should you learn if you want to be sociable in the peloton? In days gone by, French would have been enough to get you understood by the vast majority of riders. But in the post-war years, it’s become more complicated. In 2014, the cyclist riding alongside you is more likely to be a native English-speaker than a native Italian speaker. And you might want to spend some time studying Scandinavian and Slavonic languages as well….

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This chart attempts to show the percentage of native speakers for each language and as such is far from perfect. Several countries are multilingual which presents a particular difficulty. I’ve attempted to distribute Swiss riders equally between French, German and Italian, for example. Canadian riders are nearly always classed as English-speaking unless they have a very obviously French name. Here’s the list I used for each language:-

English-speaking countries

United Kingdom

Ireland

Australia

New Zealand

Canada

United States

French-speaking countries

France

Monaco

Belgium

Switzerland

Andorra

(Canada)

Spanish-speaking countries

Spain

Mexico

Colombia

Venezuela

Argentina

Peru

Ecuador

Chile

Costa Rica

Puerto Rico

Uruguay

Panama

Bolivia

German-speaking countries

Germany

Austria

Switzerland

Liechtenstein

Italian-speaking countries

Italy

Switzerland

San Marino

DATA SOURCE: WWW.CYCLINGARCHIVES.COM

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July 16, 2014
Non-European Riders in Tour de France since 1903

The Tour is predominantly a European affair and that continent alone has provided 13465 riders in the race’s history (counting each rider’s appearance separately for each year). But how do the other continents compare?

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There’s some disagreement about the first non-European to ride (or, at least, start) the Tour. My main source, Cycling Archives, says Antoine Gregory (also spelt Gregori) in the 1909 edition was born in Puerto Rico which would make him the first non-European participant. But another reliable source, Memoire du Cyclisme, has him as French. The confusion could be the result of French immigration to Puerto Rico from the 17th Century onwards. Certainly, “Gregori” is one of the listed surnames of French immigrants to Puerto Rico in the 19th Century. I’ve not been able to confirm his nationality one way or the other.

There is agreement, however, that in 1910 two Algerians rode the Tour - Emile Godard and Raphael Galiero. Algeria was, of course, a French colony at the time. In fact, in the first half of the race’s history, there were a number of North Africans taking part. 

South America’s contribution to the Tour is dominated by Colombia whose first rider was Martìn Emilio Rodríguez in 1975.

Oceania first made an appearance back in 1914 when two Australian cyclists took part, Don Kirkham and Ivan Munro. 

Central Asia, specifically Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, accounts for most of the Asian riders on the Tour although a Chinese rider took part for the first time in 2014. The first ever Asian rider on the Tour was the Japanese cyclist, Kisso Kawamuro, in 1926.

DATA SOURCE: www.CyclingArchives.com

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July 8, 2014

The Tour de France may have started out as a very European affair in 1903 but it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to join in. These maps show a snapshot of how the Tour has spread across the continents. It’s interesting to note how North African riders featured regularly in the first half of the race’s history but have now disappeared.

DATA SOURCE: www.cyclingarchives.com

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July 7, 2014
How many nationalities ride the Tour de France?

There are 33 countries represented in the 2014 Tour de France - equalling the previous year’s record. At the other extreme, in 1905 only two nations took part - France and Belgium. The number of  nations participating in the Tour increased after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union.

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DATA SOURCE: www.cyclingarchives.com

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July 3, 2014
Which European countries have NO riders in this year’s Tour?

The Tour is still dominated by European riders (in numerical terms, at least). But not all of Europe will have national interests in this year’s race.

DATA SOURCE: www.cyclingarchives.com

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July 3, 2014
Which countries are riding the 2014 Tour de France?

These are the countries which have riders lining up in Leeds for the start of the 2014 Tour de France. This will be the first year a Chinese rider takes part so watch out for Cheng Ji. 

DATA SOURCE: www.cyclingarchives.com

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July 3, 2014
How French is the Tour de France?

Although the peloton is less French than it was in the early days of the Tour, France has almost always been the country with the most riders in the race. The exceptions were 1981 when Belgian riders outnumbered the French, 1994-1999 when Italian riders outnumbered them and 2007 when there were more Spanish than French riders.

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DATA SOURCE: www.cyclingarchives.com

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July 2, 2014
Only 4 British riders in 2014 Tour de France…

With Yorkshire hosting the first stages of the Tour de France, this is the most British Tour ever. But there will be only four British riders in the peloton. How does that compare with previous years?

DATA SOURCE: www.cyclingarchives.com

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