And now, the preview we've all been waiting for... the famous maillot jaune!
The yellow jersey or maillot jaune is the jersey worn each day by the rider with the lowest time overall (ie, the one who is in first place). It is possible to win the day's stage, but not wear the yellow jersey for that day, as it is awarded to the rider with the lowest cumulative time. The overall leader for the Giro d'Italia in May wears the maglia rose, or pink jersey, and the overall leader for the Vuelta a Espana in September wears the jersey de oro, or gold jersey. These two races, along with the Tour de France, make up the three Grand Tours.
Contenders for the yellow jersey are capable riders overall; whether they are sprinting on the flats or climbing the hills, they are talented at both. Knitters in this category are also talented in many areas: socks, lace, sweaters, afghans, crochet. Whatever project you've picked for this category, we hope the GCs, or general classification riders, will inspire you to make great progress, or perhaps even finish it!
Yellow jersey contenders to watch:
Name: Cadel Evans
His website: http://www.cadel.com.au/
Cadel Evans began his career as a cyclist in mountain biking. His first Tour de France was in 2005, and he came in 5th place overall in 2006. From the looks of his web domain, he has joined the ranks of the 'first-name-only' celebrities of Australia, together with Kylie, Nicole, Lleyton, etc.
Name: Andreas Kloden
His website: http://www.andreas-kloeden.com/
Andreas Kloden came in 2nd place in the Tour in 2004, and 3rd place in 2006. Formerly with T-Mobile, he switched to Astana in 2007.
Name: Levi Leipheimer
His website: http://www.levileipheimer.net/
Formerly with Gerolsteiner, Levi won the 2007 Tour of California, and the 2006 Dauphine Libere. He finished 13th in the 2006 Tour. He is a serious contender not only for the Maillot Jaune, but for best name of the Tour. I love hearing the race announcers shouting his name!
Name: Denis Menchov
His website: http://denismenchov.com/
Last year, Denis came in 6th overall, and won Stage 11. He was winner of the White Jersey in 2003.
Name: Oscar Pereiro
Team: Caisse d'Epargne
His website: http://www.oscarpereiro.com/esp/inicio.php [Google will translate]
Oscar finished 2nd in last year's Tour. He also wore the yellow jersey after stages 13, 14, 16, 17, & 18.
Name: Carlos Sastre
His website: http://www.carlossastre.com/
Sastre finished in 4th place last year, and is an especially talented climber.
Name: Alejandro Valverde
Team: Cassie d'Epargne
His website: http://www.alejandro-valverde.info/
In the 2005 Tour, Alejandro won stages 8 & 10. Last year, however, he crashed during the third stage. He fractured his right collarbone and had to withdraw from the race. He has become such a strong rider, that I expect him to be one of the top 3!
Name: Alexander Vinokourov
His website: http://www.alexander-vinokourov.com/
Vino was caught in the drama that was the Operation Puerto drug scandal last year. Though he personally was never accused, several members of his team were forced to withdraw. As a result, there were too few riders on that team to enter into the Tour, and Vino was not able to race. However, he rode and won the Vuelta A Espana in September, several months later. He is particularly noted for his attacks. He is another rider we can expect to see in the top 3.
I've tried to find close-up photos for these posts that will help you to recognize the riders when you see them in the Tour, but if you have one or two favorites, please check out their websites! There are much better photos and more detailed information there. Also, if I've missed a favorite rider of yours, please tell us about him in the comments!!
This concludes our pre-Tour coverage content of the KAL as the Tour gets underway in just a few hours. We'll be posting every day with a wrap-up of that day's cycling highlights, progress you've made on your projects, and whatever extra tidbits we come across. We wish all the KAL tricoteuses BONNE ROUTE! (And yes, you still have a few more hours left to join so get on your bike!!)