Tour de France 2015 – The Quiz

It’s been nearly a week – how much can you remember? The quiz will close in a week, on Saturday August 8th at 5.00pm. Send answers via the contact form. Bonne chance!

  1. In the excitement of the stage 1 time trial, where were Australian fans said to be sitting?
  2. Does Marcel Kittel only use Alpecin because they sponsor his team?
  3. Whose hair is a better gauge of weather conditions at the finish: Robbie’s or Mike’s?
  4. According to Paul, what does everybody want to be when they grow up?
  5. How can you differentiate between the Yates twins?
  6. Which province is the hotbed of cycling?
  7. What euphemism did the Ps use to refer to JC Péraud’s exposed bits in stage 13?
  8. Speaking of shorts, why did Rohan Dennis choose black shorts for some stages?
  9. How did Valverde end up with torn shorts in stage 6?
  10. What was the punchline to Paul Sherwen’s hilarious stage 6 joke?
  11. Which alliterative adjectives did the Ps use to describe the four GC favourites?
  12. What is the 10th largest port in the world?
  13. Which past champion was mentioned ad nauseum during stage 3 and why?
  14. In a team time trial, which rider do they take the time from?
  15. Is Tejay a pilot fish or a goldfish?
  16. How did Geraint Thomas say he would respond when the doctors asked his name after the stage 16 crash?
  17. How did the Ps refer to Warren Barguil from stage 17 onwards?
  18. What did Phil think this field art was?Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 3.21.12 pm
  19. As best you can, try to reproduce the way Paul Sherwen says “Département”.
  20. Who was the oldest rider in the Tour this year and how old was he?
  21. Simplify the following Sherliggettisms:
  • in the descendancy
  • surgical interventions
  • a southerly direction
  • the dampness has disappeared
  • hectometres
  • the team of Chris Froome
  • sterile gap
  • job of work
  • the outskirts of time
  • the Alpine mountains

Bonus question: if you were given a choice between having a dollar (AUD) every time the Ps mentioned the Roches, a Euro every time they mentioned Merckx, or a Swiss Franc every time they said “undulating”, which would you choose?

Tour de France 2015

It’s about to begin – 21 nights of sleep deprivation, creative snackery, DJ trolling, Sherliggettisms and Sherliggettism-inspired irresponsible drinking, irresponsibly delicious use of butter (we hope! don’t let us down, Gabriel) and (we also hope) quality vache-spotting.

Cow in bikePhoto: John Weiler

I plan to tweet out the cheeses for the day in the morning of each stage, to give you a chance to get to your local cheesemonger. The stage preview will be published later in the day and will give a bit more information about the cheese, local cattle and maybe a recipe or two.

Now, make the most of the last couple of days of normal sleep!


We have a winner!

Bovine head-desk

Bovine head-desk

Image: Wikimedia

Quizzes should be simple to mark, right? I mean, there’s a right answer, and a wrong answer. Except, of course, when Sherliggett is a factor. After all, sometimes not even our esteemed commentators were really sure of the correct answer.

There was, however, a clear winner. A winner who was not put off by the repeated assertions that Simon Yates was the youngest rider in the race. A winner who managed to shoehorn in a reference to Fabian Cancellara in the answer to question 19. A winner who used the word PANIC in the answer to question 19 almost as many times as Sherliggett did during the broadcast…

Congratulations to Accidental Sunshine, an appropriate winner given the weather for this year’s edition of the race. Not only were most of the answers correct, they were also entertaining.

Here are some of the other (not necessarily correct!) answers that had me chuckling away at my computer:

1. How many Sundays are there in the Tour de France.

  • Four. There were, however, less than four sunny days. (Buttered Frog)
  • 48 Sundays too few. (S)
  • Every day is Sunday in the Couch le Tour. (Rusty)

2. Where should you ride in the peloton?

  • Behind Fabian, Bernie or Jakob to admire the view? (Midge)
  • From the start to the finish. (James)
  • In front of Nibali. All the damn way to Paris. (Scott)

4. Which city is Nibali from?

5. How old is Jens Voigt?

  • 42 going on 21. (Craig)
  • Older than time itself. (Charlotte)
  • 42, of course! After all, his existence in the peloton is the answer to the universe and all that. (Rusty)

6. How old is Chris Horner?

  • 42 going on 50. (Craig)

7. When the race started, who was the youngest rider?

  • Boy Van Poppel’s little brother, Danny (20yo at the Grand Depart). Also Jean-Paul Van Poppel’s son. Cue Paul Sherwen anecdote about riding against Van Poppel senior. Alternatively commentary may tangent to other families. (Buttered Frog)
  • One of Jens Voigt’s kids. (Charlotte)
  • Chris Horner. (James)

8. How many kids does Jens have?

  • When he stops riding full time he can count them. (Sue)
  • Where did he find the time? (Rusty)

9. Why was Stephen Roche mentioned with such frequency?

  • Because Paul has a huge man crush. (Becca)
  • …according to Phil, “as a seven year old, he earned the money for his first bicycle by sweeping Dublin Floors”. (S)

10. What is the?

  • Definite article; used to mark a natural phenomenon such as “The Jensie”. (Buttered Frog)
  • meaning of life (Conor)

11. Which stage saw Nibs v gormless-selfie-taker?

Thanks, Froggie and S for the gif!

14. What do you think was portrayed in the unseen field art of the school kids?

  • The kiddies were taken out by the dangerous knitted miniature jerseys. This was the cause of the OH&S controversy. (Buttered Frog)
  • Sky bikes and Froome on the podium, alas it’s now broken bikes and lost dreams. (Bronwen)
  • “Where’s Wiggo?” (James)
  • Impending doom. (Scott)

15. What causes picture breakup?

  • Russian spy satellites. (Craig)
  • Apparently it’s the work experience kid going slow on the bike-powered-generator out the back of Paul and Phil’s OB Van. (S)
  • French impressionists. (Rusty)
  • 180 cases of simultaneous chafing. (Scott)

16. What does the number beside place names denote?

  • It’s either the department number or the amount of times Phil mangles the English language in that region. (Becca)
  • The page number in the road book, so Paul can quickly find all the required historical trivia. (James)

18. What does a peloton never do?

  • Worry about helmet hair. (Scott)
  • Listen to its mother. (Rusty)
  • Complete an H&R Block tax return (Buttered Frog)
  • Decide to turn into a marching band (Conor)
  • Simply ride into Mordor. (Craig)

25. What was the theme for this year’s field art?

  • Exploited children (Becca)
  • “Have you checked the children?” (Scott)
  • Covering up for those missing Yorkshire kiddies, oh and circles, so many circles. (Buttered Frog)
  • “The insanity of the farmers of France.” First they sent all their vaches to a hidden milk well never to be seen again then promptly started maniacally driving their tractors in endless circles in their now vache barren fields. (Sue)

26. What does a cyclist carry in his suitcase?

  • I’ll ask one. (Conor)
  • A towel. Always a towel. Oh no, that’s hitchhikers. (Charlotte)

27. If he wasn’t a pro-cyclist, what would Tommy Voeckler be?

  • Just as annoying. (James)
  • Secret government agent (Ange)
  • Taste-tester (Conor)
  • Bono impersonator (Buttered Frog)
  • A basset hound (Becca)
  • Housewives’ handyman (Sue)
  • A comedian and/or less popular. (Craig)
  • The lead performer in Paul’s production Dancing on the Pedals. (Charlotte)
  • The French answer to Marcel Marceau. (Sue)
  • Poker face for hire. (Scott)
  • Perhaps an extra in a really bad porn movie? (S)
  • A gurner. (Tête de la Course)

28. What key possession did airport security confiscate from Kittel?

  • His climbing legs. (Craig)
  • His hair gel, which was thankfully not packed in his suitcase of courage, otherwise it may have led to PANIC! (Sue)

The other prize – let’s call it our Lanterne Rouge – goes to Anne, who managed to make the answer to every question 42.

= = = = = = = =

  • How many Sundays are there in the Tour de France? If you live in Australia and have to stay awake through that many Sundays – too many! Conservative guess, about 42.
  • Where should you ride in the peleton? I would have said “in the front” but given how many crashed at the front, I’m going to say 42nd.
  • What is the nickname of this year’s winner? The Shark. Which is like a dolphin, which all left the Earth when the Vogons arrived. And the computer in that book said the answer to everything was 42. So, again, I’m going with 42.
  • Which city is he from? I’m choosing to ignore this question because I can’t figure out how to get 42 in the answer. Oh wait, just did!
  • How old is Jens Voigt? Duh. 42
  • How old is Chris Horner? Not 42. But close.
  • When the race started, who was the youngest rider? Not Jens. He is 42.
  • How many kids does Jens have? 6, but sometimes his twitter feed gives the impression it is 42.
  • Why was Stephen Roche mentioned with such frequency? Either his dad is somehow involved in cycling, or P&P had a dare to get his name in 42 times per stage. Yeah. The second one.
  • Which stage saw Nibs v gormless-selfie-taker? So there was a stage 42 right? Or it happened with 42 km to go in some stage or other. Not important really. Yes, I know, it was the question. But the question doesn’t fit my answer.
  • According to the P’s, what was the biggest challenge for fans in the opening stage? Staying awake for more than 42 consecutive minutes.
  • What is remarkable about the walls in Yorkshire? Each wall has approximately 42 dry stones in it.
  • What do you think was portrayed in the unseen field art of the school kids? A giant 42 in honor of Jens and his final tour, clearly!
  • What causes picture breakup? The awesome power of 42 year old Jens’ legs when he gets into a breakaway. Or just rides along in the peleton. Either really.
  • What does the number beside place names denote? The department of France. My favourite is 42. If it exists. If not, it should.
  • Match the rider and birthplace? Voeckler with his 42 cm tongue is… oh who knows!!
  • What does a peleton never do? Get nervous? Nope. Get panicky! That’s it. They were nervous plenty of times. Again, rough estimate, about 42 times across the stages.
  • How many times has Tony Martin won the World TT championship? 42. No wait, that’s how many times he will win it before he retires. Including solo TDF stages.
  • Which ministries did the Ps award to Voeckler? Ministry of the tongue. The 42 cm tongue.
  • Was our roadside pachyderm an Asian or African elephant? Don’t you mean swallow? And how would it carry a coconut? And this sketch has been done to death. Around 42 times today alone.
  • Which nation was represented for the first time? Not sure, but it must have been the 42nd nation to have riders compete in the TDF.
  • What was the theme for this year’s field art? A Vacheless France. And there were 42 such field art installations viewed on SBS.
  • What does a cyclist carry in his suitcase? Well, the obvious answer is courage, but since you’ll get that around 42 times, I’m going with reserves of energy.
  • If he wasn’t a pro-cyclist, what would Tommy Voeckler be? With a 42 cm tongue like that… well, that would be rude… but he’d be paid well for using it…. :O
  • What key possession did airport security confiscate from Kittel? About 42 L of hair gel.





Les vaches en vacances

We’re nearly there, and by there I mean here, and by nearly, I mean we have our bikes and will be starting our own mini-tour (sans cols and time trials) tomorrow. We are riding from Toulouse down to Sète at a leisurely pace along the Canal du Midi, keeping a particular eye out for visible vaches as we pass Castelnaudary in anticipation of the race riding through later in the week.

What does that mean for Le Tour (Actual)? We’ll probably still be in our saddles as the pros take to theirs each day, but we are hoping to get to our hotels in time to see as much of the coverage as we can (M Vache has been investigating; we will be tuned to France 1 and 2 and trying to follow as they hop between channels). The pocket wifi has been working a treat since we left Spain and – touch wood – will continue to do so in the countryside so I can watch the twitter commentary and Tour Tracker. Barring any disasters on the trail, we’ll be in Montpellier to see the end of Stage 6.

From there, we are flying up to spend a few days in Brittany and will be scoping vaches ahead of stages 10 and 11. Le vache tour part deux takes us through the Loire Valley, and we aim to reach Tours to see the Stage 12 finish. From then on, we will be scooting around in a petit Renault and will be popping up roadside and at various starts and finishes right through to Paris. Paris! Where, thanks to Ben, we have registered to ride in the Randonnée on the Champs Elysees on the morning of the final stage.

Daily previews of the cows to look out for and the vache-related snacks to prepare will be up at around 11.00am AEST and daily round-ups will follow each stage (tech willing).

It’s fair to say… I AM EXCITE.

One week to go

Team rosters are being announced daily and whilst we will miss seeing some of our favourite riders contest the flat stages (no Moonen), rally their teams (no Bernie) and fill out a skin suit (no Cowncellara), there’s a lot to look forward to. Naturally we want to see Cowbell Evans doing well and I’ve had a special affection for Andy Schleck ever since he expressed a desire to make a bovine transformation. Cowntador should be cownted on to bring the attacks to Froome, who will have the wonderful, wonderful Bovine-Bison-Hagen in his corner. Let’s not forget Cowvendish in the points competition.

Of course, if all else fails, there are the vaches! We will be at the finish in Montpellier and Tours, and then pretty much following the Tour in our little rented car from Lyon onwards. Our itinerary gives us the chance to preview the Brittany stages, so I hope to be able to advise of potential vache-tastic viewing ahead of time.

Team Vaches was on the ball as usual this week, drawing attention to the excellent news that cows had been spotted during Garmin-Sharp’s alpine recons.

Vache HQ is currently in Barcelona and desperately trying to make on-the-road connectivity happen – everything is crossed that the mobile hotspot will suddenly start playing nice. Today we are visiting the pro-cyclists’ favourite base, Girona, and next week it’s France.



Image: Ryder Hejsedal

30 days to go

How will you fill your time?

  • Watch the Dauphiné. Check out the form of some TdF hopefuls and admire the Alpine scenery for a taste of the coming Tour. The race starts Sunday, with live coverage on Eurosport from 9.00pm AEST and replayed on SBS2 from 10.45pm AEST (there will be live streaming on Cycling Central from 9.15pm).
  • Read 100 Tours 100 Tales for stories of Tours past.
  • Look at some pictures. See the official exhibition in Paris and Sydney (coming to Melbourne on 15 July), or visit Marsham in the UK for a collection of fan photos and memorabilia.
  • Study the route. If you are going to be there, plan where you will stake out a position (preferably a place where the TV cameras – or even Team Vaches – will pick up your frantic #kermitarms).

Kermit Arms

  • Brush up on Sherliggettisms.


It’ll be time for the Grand Départ before you know it!


Good omens

The Tour de France start list is still some time away, but I’ve been reading the tea leaves (cow pats?) and am prepared to make the call: it’s going to be an excellent year for the cows. Not only did the Sydney Royal Easter Show choose our signature breed, the Charolais, as its feature breed this year, but this Palgrove Charolais was awarded the Urquhart Trophy as champion bull of the show.

Champion BullImage: Al Rayner

It’s definitely a sign…


Official trailer – pas des vaches

This weekend marks the real start of European cycling. None of that delayed telecasting stuff (well, apart from Strade Bianche). Paris Nice starts Sunday and another little French race launched the official trailer this week (reload the page if the video doesn’t show. Full-screen recommended):

Oh, and for Australian readers, SBS is showing the Classics live.