The French Alps have always been the holy grail of cycling. But this year the quest is even tougher: Tour de France cyclists will set a new record for the highest finish.
Tour de France cyclists still head out for a ride and juggle press conferences and massages. Back in the day, riders had 14 days off and some even swam in the Mediterranean.
Two-time defending champion Alberto Contador is once again the favorite as the Tour de France heads into the Pyrénéan climbs this week and next week’s Alpine stages.
HTC-Highroad rider Mark Cavendish of Britain celebrates winning the 11th stage of the Tour de France 2011 from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur on July 13.
Tour de France 2011 has been marred by several crashes. One of the worst Tour de France incidents has French police investigating.
Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong isn't riding this year, but there are plenty of other fast Americans in the race. Here are six of them, with their team affiliations:
Today Briton Mark Cavendish will be challenging a Frenchman for the green jersey, worn by the overall sprint leader – who, more often than not, tends to be a prima donna.
Spectators in costume cheer as the pack, or peloton, pass through the village of Le Champ Saint Pere during the first stage of the Tour de France on July 2.
In the post-Lance Armstrong era, Team Garmin-Cervélo is proving it's possible to win clean. Since the squad pioneered a rigorous internal drug-testing system in 2007, not a single rider has tested positive.
Garmin-Cervelo rider Thor Hushovd (l.) of Norway leads his teammates during the team time trial in the second stage of the Tour de France 2011 cycling race in Les Essarts on July 3.