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Ooh la la: Our Tour jargon guide
Around the Academy:

The Academy gives you some fancy lingo to impress your cycling mates

French is the official language of the cycling world and the Tour de France.

Many French words and phrases are used in English to describe the race. The Academy gives you the pick of the most common ones.


PELOTON
The peloton amble through the mountains
The name for the main bunch or field of riders. It comes from the French for 'herd.' There will be 189 riders in the peloton at start of the 2004 race.


MAILLOT JAUNE
Lance Armstrong in the famous maillot jaune
The yellow jersey. Widely recognised as the symbol of the Tour de France leader and probably the most famous sporting top in the world.


EQUIPE
Lance Armstrong leading his US Postal equipe-mates in a team time trial!
French for team. 21 teams are taking part in the 2004 race. Each has a sponsor ranging from a national postal service (Lance Armstrong's team) to T-Mobile (Jan Ullrich's team)- a mobile telephone company.


DOMESTIQUE
Roberto Heras is Lance Armstrong's domestique in the mountains
Every team has one or more team leaders who either have the chance of winning the race overall or win a stage or a jersey. Other members are traditionally known as 'domestiques' - which means servant. They sacrifice their own chances and work in every stage to help their team leaders.


ETAPE
Some etapes pas through spectacular mountain scenery
The French word for stage. There are 20 stages in the 2004 race - 11 of them are flat stages and dominated by the sprinters, six are mountain stages, three are time trials: two individual ones and one team time trial.


PARCOURS
A flat, winding parcours in the Tour de France
French word for the route the race takes each day. On a mountain stage in the Alps you could describe the 'parcours' as very steep and suited to good climbers. A flat stage may have a winding or straight 'parcours' with smooth or cobbled roads.


HORS CATEGORIE
Lance Armstrong labours up a hors categorie climb
French for the toughest climb in a mountain stage. 'Hors categorie' climbs are so hard they don't get a rating. Climbs are rated 4,3,2,1 in descending order with 'hors categorie' the daddy of them all!


TETE DE LA COURSE
The leaders at the tete de la course
This means the 'front of the race' in English. On French TV there are constant updates of the time gap in the race, saying how far the 'tete de la course' or leaders in a breakaway are ahead of the rest of the peloton.


DIRECTEUR SPORTIF
The directeur sportif follows behind the race giving orders
The name given to each team manager. He follows the race in a team car and gives tactics and strategy orders to riders, sometimes via radio. He's usually joined by a team mechanic. The directeur sportif will drive at high speed to the front of the race if one of his riders gets a puncture or crashes.


CARAVANE PUBLICITAIRE
You see some crazy sights at the Tour de France!
This is a cavalcade of 200 sponsor's vehicles and bizarre floats which snakes slowly along the stage route. It travels ahead of the race and gives out free samples and gadgets to spectators.


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION (GC)
Lance Armstrong has finished at the top of the GC in Paris four-years-in-row
It's the overall ranking of each rider after each stage. Someone may ask you 'How's Iban Mayo doing?' you might answer, 'He's lying in 5th place overall on the GC after the 10th stage.' Riders often hope for a 'high GC finish in Paris' - which means they want a high placing overall at the end of the race.


CONTRE LA MONTRE
Bradley McGee gets ready to launch himself down the time trial start ramp
French for 'time trials'. Also referred to in France as 'the race of 'truth' - it's a straight race against the clock. In the individual one each rider races solo - the one with the fastest time wins the stage. The team time trials are the same, except the riders are grouped together in teams.


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2005 Tour de France facts
Starts: 2 July, Fromentine
Finishes: 24 July, Paris
Distance: 3607 km
Number of stages: 20 + prologue
Longest stage: Stage 17 - Pau-Revel, 239.5km
Number of teams: 21
Number of riders: 189


FROM THE BBC >>
:: BBC Sport's cycling coverage
:: Learn French through the BBC

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:: Tour de France

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