The premium bike tyres used by six World Tour teams competing at Tour de France 2019 don’t just boost performance – they also significantly contribute to the riders’ safety. The Competition Pro LTD offers the optimal balance of grip and speed, thanks to the unique Black Chili tread compound. It improves rolling resistance, which is crucial in flat stages. At the same time, it provides a level of grip that can make a huge difference on particularly challenging descents in the mountain stages.
Along with well-timed braking and slick aerodynamics, these two advantages combined can decide who wins or loses, who arrives safely, and who crashes out early. Grip is particularly important on rainy days, when other safety concerns like overheating and dehydration are dwarfed by the very real risk of riders slipping on wet roads.
Tour de France riders and their teams can do a lot to stay safe en route, but they are never in full control of all risks. The right equipment is engineered to be ultra-safe and cyclists have to be alert and quick to react to challenges. However, they also need to have the confidence to trust their surroundings.
Official Tour de France vehicles, including those used by race directors, doctors, timekeepers and service professionals, contribute to route safety. To ensure that they, too, stay safe on the Tour, all vehicles are fitted with an exclusive edition of the Continental PremiumContact™ 6. The tyre’s exceptional grip allows the drivers to experience the route with the same feeling of confidence as the riders. After all, in their quest for a safe, smooth and successful Tour, they have to drive the same often treacherous roads the riders face, and actually cover significantly more kilometres than the bikes throughout the Tour de France.
If you want to get up close (but not too close) with the pros during the challenging race, you can view the Tour alongside the route on any of the stages. This means facing the challenges of driving to one of the most viewed sports events in the world, in the middle of summer, during the French school holidays, and dealing with the ensuing traffic chaos. You can’t be prepared for every eventuality the roads may throw at you, but you can ensure that your car is ready to get you there safely. Prepare just as well as you would for a bike ride, and also pay attention to what the official vehicle drivers watch out for on the Tour.
At 3,460 kilometres in length, the 106th edition of the Tour de France presents an especially gruelling challenge: three mountain finishes at altitudes of more than 2,000 metres, at the Col du Tourmalet Pass, Tignes, and Val Thorens. Such a programme is unmatched by anything in the history of the Grand Boucle and will take riders to the limits of their mental and physical endurance.
The official presentation of the 176 riders representing the 22 teams participating in the 2019 Tour de France will take place on Thursday, 4 July at the famous Grand-Place in Brussels. This year, there are six World Tour teams (Ineos, FDJ, Movistar, Bahrain-Merida, Katusha-Alpecin, and Sunweb) racing on the high-end Competition Pro LTD tyre from Continental, specially designed and hand-made in Korbach, Germany.
The tour consists of 21 stages – 7 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, and 7 mountain stages – with only two days of rest for the weary riders. The Grand Départ is from Brussels – only the second time since 1958 – and will honour not just Belgian Eddy Merckx but also a speciality of the country: sprinting. After visiting three Belgian regions (Bruxelles-Capitale, Flanders and Wallonia), the tour will continue through 37 departments of France.
Check out this video and learn more about the starting numbers at the Tour de France.
Three of the stages will take place in sites visited for the first time in the history of the Tour. Binche for the start of Stage 3, Saint-Die-des-Vosges for the start of stage 5, and Pont du Gard for the start of stage 17. In Foix, which is stage 15, the finish will take place at the 1,205 metre summit of Prat d’Albis.
An innovation carried over from 2018, a pair of time-trials will once again be a feature of the Tour. The first is a team time-trial taking place at stage 2, from Bruxelles Palais Royal to Brussel Atomium, with a distance of 27 km. The second is an individual time-trial at stage 13 in Pau, for 27 km distance.
Statistically, this Pyrenean mountain has been climbed the most in the annals of the Tour – an astonishing 82 times. However, this occasion is only the third time that the Tourmalet has been designated for a finish. The first was in 1974 (won by Jean-Pierre Danguillaume) and the second in 2010 (won by Andy Schleck).
The col de l’Iseran has not been climbed for twelve years. This period of inattention winds to a close, as it becomes the summit of the 2019 tour. It represents a formidable altitude of 2,770 metres, and will be climbed for the eighth time since records began.
The yellow jersey
The leader in the overall standings – that is, the rider who has covered the total distance so far in the shortest amount of time – wears the yellow jersey.
The mountain jersey
Climbing specialists enjoy special recognition during the tour – and use a separate classification system, for which points are awarded at each pass height. The more difficult the mountain (divided into five difficulty categories), the higher the score. The rider who currently has the most points in the mountains classification wears the white jersey with the red polka dots.
The green jersey
In tribute to the fastest men, the best sprinter rides in a green jersey. For this purpose, two scores will be tallied and points awarded per stage: after about two-thirds of the course and at the finish.
The white jersey
The best young rider (under 26 years old) in the general classification also stands out daily, as he wears a white jersey.
Drivers of the official vehicles of the Tour will be travelling in complete confidence and safety thanks to the PremiumContact™ 6 tyres fitted to their wheels. These tyres will empower specialist personnel – ranging from doctors to time-keepers to race referees and commissioners – to focus purely on the task at hand, which is to deliver the best Tour possible for the uncompromising competitors and the jubilant audience. And further on the topic of tyres, the Tour de France is indubitably a Franco-German triumph of cooperation; the PremiumContact™ 6 is manufactured with Gallic flair and Teutonic precision at the Continental factory in Sarreguemines, France.