If you have chosen le maillot à pois rouges, you are competing for King (Queen) of the Mountains! The Polka Dot Jersey identifies the best climber of the Tour. It is all about stamina as you pedal up up up to the top of the mountain. And from what some knitters have told us when they signed up, their projects for this category are all uphill! Here are some of the riders who might inspire us to keep on pedalling to the top!
Name: Michael Rasmussen
His website: http://www.feltet.dk/michaelrasmussen/news.php
From wiki: Specializing in climbing, Rasmussen has shown a propensity for attempting spectacular stage wins in mountain stages in which he breaks away from the peloton early and rides alone for most of the stage...In the 2006 Tour de France, he finished well in the overall GC but wasn't the team leader, that honour went to Russian Denis Menchov. Rasmussen nevertheless won the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey for the second year in succession and claimed stage 16 in the process. On Stage 16 he broke away after just 4km and took the Henri Desgrange prize for the highest point in this year's Tour de France at the top of the Col du Galibier (2645m), also bagging 5000 euros for his efforts. He led over all of the climbs and won stage 16 by over a minute to the nearest chaser, Carlos Sastre of Team CSC.
Name: Frank Schleck
His site: http://www.schleck.lu/
From: wiki: In the Tour de France , he won stage 15 from Gap to Alpe D'Huez, where he broke away from Damiano Cunego 1.5 km from the finish to record one of his most famous victories. He is particularly known for the way he keeps his knees in while pedalling. He also rides a very high cadence, like Lance Armstrong, when climbing. Furthermore, he rides, especially during climbing, with his jersey open to keep him cool.
Name: Damiano Cunego
His site: http://www.damianocunego.it/ (English to come, but you can translate with Google)
From wiki: In his first Tour de France, Cunego captured the maillot blanc (or white jersey) in the Best Young Rider classification at the 2006 Tour de France from Markus Fothen on the last time-trial stage. He finished 2nd on stage 15 to L'Alpe D'Huez, after losing to Fränk Schleck, who broke away in the final 2 km. He also finished 3rd on stage 17, on the road to Morzine.
There's no doubt about it, some of the greatest moments of le Tour are experienced in the Mountain Stages and the scenery in these stages is amazing. Even if you're not a big fan of cycling, get behind one of these mountain climbers and you will not be disappointed by the drama of the early mountain breakaway, and the thrill of victory as the summit is reached!
Next up - the youngsters of the Tour (white jerseys) who are hoping to show these experienced guys a thing or two!