Events  Tour de France and chasse-patate
04/07/201500:00 TV5MONDE


The Tour de France is a very famous cycling race that takes place in France every year. It is followed by many amateurs both French and international. Actually, many fanatics come from abroad to follow the Tour and to encourage the riders. 
Now, have you ever heard the word "Chasse-patate?" (hunt-potato)? Do you know what does it mean? This is typically part of the cycling jargon, which we will explain to you hereafter. 
The Tour de France, also called the Big loop (La Grande Boucle in French) is organized in July every year. French people are delighted when the Tour de France happens to cross their own city or village! 
They love to encourage riders from the side: “Allez allez!” ("Go go") “Courage!”, while goodies are thrown to the public....


A few names are part of the Tour de France history: Laurent Fignon; Bernard Hinault; Richard Virenque…. We can’t wait to see whose names will stand out for this 102d edition!


Now, let’s take a closer look to the 2015 route:

The Tour de France 2015 is the 102d edition. It will start on Saturday 4th July and end on Sunday 26th July.
There will be 21 stages (étapes) on a 3,360 kilometers distance, including:
_9 flat stages
_3 hill stages
_7 mountain stages including 5 high-altitude finish
_1 individual time-trial stage
_1 team time-trial stage

You can download the map on:

The race will start from the Netherlands in Utrecht as the Grand Départ! Then there should be another two days of race in Belgium before the first stage in France.

The very famous stage on cobbled portions will start in Seraing and end in Cambrai.

The race will continue through (not limited to) Arras; Le Havre; Fougères; Rennes; Vannes; Pau; Tarbes; Rodez; Valence; Gap; Alpe d’Huez… and many others before reaching Paris Champs-Elysees for the big Finish!


Some people are big fans of the Tour de France and are totally addicted! When they start talking about it you might not understand anything at all since they use a cycling jargon with a particular vocabulary and expressions… Let’s take the opportunity to learn some of them:


Vocabulary and expressions:
Le Tour de France: literally the tour of France
Le vélo: the bike
Le coureur / le cycliste: literally the runner, but here, it’s a rider or a cyclist
Le cyclisme: the biking
Le peloton: the bunch of riders
L’équipe: the team

No matter the weather, a fan is a fan...

Une bosse ou un col: a mountain pass
Une côte: a hill or a slope
Une montée: an upward slope
Une descente: a downward slope
Une course: a race
Une course par étapes: a stage race

A yellow jersey rider, who is not able to enjoy the beautiful view of the Mont-Saint-Michel...

Une échappée: the breakaway rider(s), someone or a group or riders who will take some distance from the “peloton”
L’autobus or gruppeto: a group that rides together to finish within the time limit
Le grimpeur: the climber
Le poursuivant: the chaser
Le rouleur: the smooth rider (literally the roller)
Le sprinteur: the sprinter

 Public encouraging the rider before the finish....

La tête de course: the leader (literally the head of the race)
Contre la montre: time trial
La lanterne rouge: the last rider (literally the red lantern)

La cadence: the pedaling rhythm

The peloton

Chasse-patate (one of our favourite expressions): when a rider is between two groups, fighting hard to overtake the front team (literally “potato hunt”)
Casse-pattes: when a stage is so difficult that it leaves only little chance for the rider to win back (literally legs-breaker)
La danseuse: when a rider is standing up, mostly on a climbing stage (literally the dancer in feminine)

 En danseuse...

À bloc: when a rider is going as fast as possible
Avoir le coup de pédale soyeux: to pedal with ease, which shows that the rider has a lot of energy (literally to pedal in a silky way)
Sucer la roue: to stick to another distinct rider and to always have one’s wheel in the other’s without ever taking over (literally to suck the wheel)
Relayer: to go in front of the team in order to protect the other team members from the wind, who can then benefit from the draft and save their energy.
Etre dans la roue: to ride behind another rider and to benefit from his energy and draft (literally to be in the wheel)
Boucher le trou: to join the peloton from behind (literally to fill the whole)
Avoir les chaussettes en titane: when one pedals vigorously 
(literally to have titanium socks)

Another rider not able to enjoy the view

Bâcher: to leave, to abandon the stage
Compter les pavés: to ride very slowly, usually due to a lack of energy (literally to count the cobblestones)
Descendre comme une caisse à savon: to go down in a dangerous and clumsy manner (literally to go down like a soap box)
Courir en rat: to ride without adding extra efforts in order to save some energy for a later stage (literally to ride like a rat)
Faire un soleil: to fall over the handlebar (literally to make a sun)

 It's always a shame when it happens...

Fumer la pipe: to pedal with surprising easiness (literally to smoke the pipe)
Pédaler avec ses oreilles: to ride in a jolting manner, when the rider’s head swings to the rhythm of the pedaling (literally to pedal with one’s ears)


 4 different jerseys, 4 different awards

Un maillot: a jersey
Un dossard: the reference number on the rider’s jersey
The Red Polka Dot jersey

Maillot à pois: the jersey worn by the best climber. Points for the best climber classification are awarded at the top of any classified slope (literally jersey with Red Polka Dot)
Maillot blanc: the jersey worn by the best young rider aged 25 years old or less, in the general individual time classification (literally the white jersey)
Maillot jaune: the jersey worn by the leader in the general individual time classification, it’s the most important classification (literally the yellow jersey)
Maillot vert:
 the jersey worn by the leader of the points classification. Points are attributed through sprints and at the stage (literally the green jersey)

The peloton climbing at the famous stage of the Mont Ventoux,
a very tough stage as it is very steep on top of being windy and hot in summer! (Provence region)
Now you are an expert! You can find more information on the official website of the Tour de France

Enjoy the tour!
Thank you so much for reading our article. Please share it with your friends! Now we want to know: Do you like the Tour de France? Which of these expressions is your favourite? Use the toolbar on the left hand side to let us know.
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