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Tour de France: sprinters
Around the Academy:

Mario Cipollini raises his hands in triumph as he crosses the line first
Mario Cipollini is the best sprinter in the world


Chris Boardman gives the Academy all the answers


Mario Cipollini of Italy was the best sprinter in the world before his retirement after this year's Giro d'Italia.

To be a top sprinter you have to be very brave.

In the last couple of kilometres of a flat stage they need to be in the top couple of places if they want to win the stage.

And everyone else knows that!

So if you're in a bunch sprint with 200 guys and they all know to win it you have to be in the first 10 places, then you've got to be very brave.

Mario Cipollini in the race leader's yellow jersey
Best sprinter: 'Super Mario' Cipollini

A good sprinter is generally quite aggressive in character.

And they have to be technically very clever if they are to force their way into a winning position.

It's no use being really brave if you fall off your bike!

They also have to have a very big engine and lots of muscle.

Like a dragster they only have to produce enough power for 10-15 seconds to make sure they cross the line first.

So sprinters might get dropped on the mountain stages because they're quite big.

Italy's Mario Cipollini won his first Tour de France stage in 1993
Cycling's version of Tim Montgomery

It's like getting a very heavy fast car which does well on the flat.

But when you try to race it up a hill, although it's very powerful, it's also very heavy and you can't build up plenty of speed.

And sprinters might not do particularly well in time trials either.

Again this is due to their size and because they're not so efficient over long periods of time.



Introduction
Sprinters
Climbers
Time trialists

Did you know?
Mario Cipollini has won 12 stages at the Tour de France but has never finished the race - he goes home before the mountain stages start!


FROM THE BBC >>
:: BBC Sport's Tour coverage

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:: Tour de France

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