Tour de Trivia
This year marked the inaugural running of the world's toughest endurance-cycling-quiz-challenge. The Tour de Trivia was a 21-stage gauntlet that traversed all areas of general knowledge. From cycling to French impressionism via champagne, football and pizza. If you took part, here are the answers and some backstory. If you missed out, here's your chance to go back through the questions and take on the parcours itself.
1. This year’s Tour de France is the 100 year anniversary of the Yellow Jersey. Who was the first man to wear the Maillot Jaune?
According to the official history, the first yellow jersey was worn by the Frenchman Eugène Christophe in the stage from Grenoble to Geneva on July 18, 1919. It was quite a tour for Eugene who was made fun of for looking like a canary when he donned yellow for the first time and then had to wait two and a half hours near Valanciennes when his forks broke (for the second time) on some cobbles. He had to rely on a local ironsmith to fix them, leading to us wishing that carbon repair specialists were more regularly involved in professional racing. Feudal.
2. The first two stages of this year’s race are an ode to The Cannibal Eddie Merckx, which is no wonder considering he won 34 stages of the Tour in his career. What was the most number of stages Eddie won during a single Tour?
In 1970 and 1974 Eddie won 8 (eight)... 8! Stages. In 1970 he won the first and last stages and three time trials. One of the TT’s was stage 7a, the other was 20b showing that he could win in the morning and the afternoon (two stages in one day were common back then) as well as on the flat, in the hills and over the mountains. Prolific.
3. Stage 3 finishes in Epernay after a flurry of small climbs across Champagne country. A toast to whoever can tell us the name of the highest selling champagne brand in the world.
Moet and Chandon. 307.3 million bottles of Champagne are sold per year on average. That’s 2302500000 litres of bubbly, enough to fill 921 disgustingly fizzy olympic swimming pools or fuel 1 post-tour Mario Cipollini party. Hoorah.
4. Stage 4 of the 2017 Tour saw Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish get intimate on the barriers in a hectic finale. Sagan was disqualified from the race and Cav had to go home. Who ended up winning the green jersey?
Michael Matthews. Nicknamed Bling because of his previous penchant for jewellery, we really don’t have a lot to say about him besides the fact he’s quite a good sprinter on hard days that aren’t too hard but harder than easy.
5. The first somewhat fully lumpy day of this year’s Grand Boucle features the cat.2 Cote des Trois Epis. Home to an annual hill-climb rally. Cycling and motorsport have a long and intertwined history. In 1994 Chris Boardman set the then fastest time in a TDF time trial aboard the famous Lotus bike. What was his average speed?
55.152km/h. That’s fast enough to break the speed limit in all residential areas in the UK, luckily enough there weren’t any jobsworth rozzers in Lille that day and Boardman flew round 15 seconds faster than Miguel Indurain. It was Big Mig’s fourth tour win, beating a then-somewhat-hairy Marco Pantani riding for Carrera Jeans at the time. Remember the faux-denim shorts? We do. Oh god we do.
6. La Planche Des Belles Filles has been used in the Tour three times, 2012, 2014 and 2017. Only four men in total have won the stage or been in the yellow jersey on the day, can you name them?
Fabio Aru, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins. Up until this year, anyone winning on PDBF has gone on to wear the yellow jersey and come in the top five of the Tour. Dylan Teuns took the honours this time up but missed out on the race lead by a handful of seconds and came 44th in GC. Buck your ideas up, mate.
7. Today’s stage finishes in Chalon-Sur-Saone. One famous resident is said to have invented photography, the internal combustion engine and the Velocipede, an early precursor of the safety bicycle. What was his name
Nicephore Niepce, the inventor so nice they nearly named him Nice twice.
8. Today the race heads into the Massif Central aka the massive central, a great name for some mountains, we can all agree. The stage finishes in St Etienne, home to France’s most historically successful football team. Their 10th and last title came in 1981 when they had which famous, balon d’or winning midfielder?
Michele Platini, chipping in with a tidy 29 goals in all competitions from midfield. One of the first teams to adopt a shirt sponsor, Les Verts had the words “Super Tele” adorned on their torsos. We can only assume this was a nod to how enamoured they were with the first series of Only Fools and Horses which debuted in the same year.
9. It’s Bastille Day! We finish in Romain Bardet’s hometown! It doesn’t get more french than this. The French love showing out on their big day, today’s break will almost certainly have a large gallic contingent. A Frenchman has won on Bastille day 32 times in history. In 1975 Bernard Thevenet won both the stage and the tour overall, riding for which team?
Bernard rode in Peugeot-BP-Michelin colours that year and profited off Eddie Merckx being punched in the kidney by a spectator. Excuses excuses...
10. Today’s stage to Albi should be a day for the sprinters. What was the nickname of three time green jersey winner Djamolidine Abdoujaparov?
The Tashkent Terror. Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and largest city in central asia and heart of the Silk Road. The official Uzbek tourist board says: “Today, there are 2 International airports and a Railway stations in Tashkent. One of the main attractions of the city is the Metro, which stands out for the unique design of each station.” Return flights from London start at £404.
11. Today we start in Albi, home to famous Languedoc red-brick and a famous 19th century post-impressionist painter. Can you name him?
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. In a 2005 auction at Christie's auction house, La Blanchisseuse, his early painting of a young laundress, sold for US$22.4 million and set a new record for the artist for a price at auction.
12. Today sees the peloton tackle the Col De Peyresourde. In 2005 a Frenchman, former world champion and owner of the greatest haircut in cycling history lead over the top. What was his name?
The owner of the finest mullet in sports history, Laurent Brochard was one of a litany of French stars caught up in the 1998 Festina Affair. According to Wikipedia: “He is a fan of Belgian comic character Marsupilami, often wearing Marsupilami logo and clothing at races.”
13. We start and end in Pau today. Which NBA star shares his first name with the town?
Pau Gasol, who’s brother Mark also plays in the NBA. Pau is 6”11, Mark is 7”00 and their “little” brother Adria is a measly 6”10. What a christmas meal that would have to be.
14. A big fat summit finish today up the famous Col de Tourmalet. The winner here will get the Souvenir Jacques Goddet, named after the former race director. How many years was he in charge for?
50, from 1936 to 1986. Jacques would often dress like a Safari game keeper in the directors car, especially during the early 1960s. Lending an altogether darker feel to proceedings when he was stalking the pack.
15. A good chance for someone to cement themselves in the Polka Dot jersey today. We could see a very large “super-breakaway” of stage hunters contest the win. Who has won the most jerseys for best climber?
It’s another name from the Festina scandal, Richard Virenque! Seemingly happy to pedal nice watches to this day you can see Richard in some truly catastrophic adverts during the Tour coverage where he dresses up in no particular order as: James Bond, a diver, a tennis player and a regular guy walking a dog.
16. Today’s probable sprint could be severely impacted by the famous Nor-Westerly Mistral wind blowing in off the mediterranean. What is the name of the South-Easterly wind, more commonly remembered as a Volkswagen coupe of the early 1980s?
The Scirrocco. Like if Magnum PI lived in Surrey.
17. Today’s stage is a lovely and satisfying 200km exactly. Seven breakaways in history have lasted longer than 200km. Who, in 1947, stayed away for a mammoth 253km between Carcassone and Luchon?
Albert Bourlon. It seems Albert had a penchant for breakaways in all areas of life. During the war, Boulon was captured and imprisoned by the German army. He escaped and crossed Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary on foot until he reached Romania. At which point he decided now was the right time to enter a bike race and won the Bucharest-Ploiesti-Bucharest classic in 1944. Described as tactically inept by his fellow riders, Bourlon decided to take the feedback on board and attack from the gun out of Carcassone, not to be seen until the finish.
18. Big day today. Huge, even. The final crest is the Col Du Galibier. It marks the border between which two Departments?
Hautes-Alpes and Savoie. Not a great deal to go into here. Pizza Savoyarde often comes with potato on top which is a highly underrated calorie booster after those nasty long Alpine climbs.
19. It’s all about being the highest today. The Col de L’Iseran is this year’s Prix Henri Desgrange and the highest paved road in mainland europe. We finish in Tignes which boasts the highest what in Europe?
Controversy here. The Tour de Trivia has had it’s Armstrong moment. The initial answer we were looking for was golf course. Imagine the extra distance on your drives up there! A mere mortal would look like Tiger Woods. However, far less excitingly, it is also true that Tignes/Val D’Isere is Europe’s highest skiable area.
20. I’m really running quite low on ideas now. I’m feeling as fatigued as the riders and to be honest, I just want to make time cut. The Lanterne Rouge is the unofficial prize awarded to the rider in last place overall. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 one Belgian managed to bag arguably one of the most impressive hat tricks in sport. What was his name?
Wim Vansevenant. “I am happy with the lanterne rouge, it will be remembered well after my career ends. I have made a little bit of history. I hope it inspires some other riders, like Lance Armstrong did winning the Tour seven times," Vansevenant said following the time trial to Saint Amand Montrond in 2008. Big talk there from Wim. I’m sure this years LR Sebastian Langeveld was staring up at his posters of him all those years ago thinking “one day… maybe me”.
21. We made it, everyone. The final question for the final stage. In 2005 Alexandr Vinokourov managed to win (“win”) here on the champs elysees in a solo breakaway. Seems improbable, right? Nothing is impossible for a man who has made Kangol flatcaps and gold bikes almost fashionable again. He even went as far as to name a team after himself, what was the full name of that team and what was the main design feature?
Ok. Hold tight. Ready? Not making this up. Vino-4-Ever. Other names left on the cutting room floor were: Alex-is-gr8 and I-<3-EPO. We could and maybe at some point will write a 10,000 word opus to this kit but in the meantime let that image soak in.