Cycling Expressions

If you are a cycling fan and plan to bet on Tour de France race, it wise to be prepared beforehand. One of the ways of doing so is to familiarize yourself with the various French expressions that are very commonly used in the sport.

These expressions are used not only within the country of the race itself but also widely in all media avenues covering Tour de France.

Plus, bookmakers everywhere use the expressions too when setting their odds, so if you want to bet on the right thing (based on our predictions), you better know what everyone is talking about!

In this article, we will cover a few of the most used expressions so you will not be missing out on any of the cycling action. Read on to find out!

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1. What is Peloton?

Let’s start with an easy one. ‘Peloton’ is one of the most frequently used term in the Tour de France race. It sounds very similar to that of the word ‘platoon’ and it means exactly that! In bicycle races, the word ‘Peloton’ will refer to a group of cyclists cycling together – like a platoon.

Throughout most of the race, a group of riders will always be cycling together mainly to gain slipstream advantage from the rider / riders in front. They achieve lower drag by doing this and subsequently conserve their energy for the upcoming sprints.

2. Hors Categorie

If you come across the term ‘Hors Categorie’ you are about to witness some cycling pain. Honestly, we are not kidding!

Hors Categorie means beyond categorization in English and this term is used to describe a specific mountain climb.

Climbs in the Tour de France races are classified into 5 unique categories, 4C, 3C, 2C, 1C and HC – in ascending levels of difficulty. HC or Hors Categorie simply means that the climb is ultra-difficult.

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3. Rouge(s)

Lanterne Rouge

The French have an extraordinary sense of humour and the Lanterne Rouge term signifies just that. This term is a title given to the last rider in the race. Not the first, but the last. Well…

We understand that finishing the race in itself is an amazing feat, but we are not too sure if anyone is exactly stoked to win the Lanterne Rouge title.

Flamme Rouge

Riders will be gladder to see the sight of the Flamme Rouge than anyone in the world. The Flamme Rouge is pretty much a red flag used as a marker to show that there is only another 1,000m to the end of the stage. In races, these red flags are extremely visible as they hang from over an arch.

4. Domestique

Teams of nine cyclists participate in each race, but in every team, there is one cyclist who is the team favourite. The ‘favourite’ cyclist cannot win the race all by himself, so he will need assistance from his fellow teammates or in this case cyclists who are called ‘domestiques’.

The domestiques job is pretty simple – to do whatever it takes to assist his ‘favourite’ teammate in winning the race.

The domestiques don’t only defend their leader from opponent cyclists but also from Mother Nature – winds! At times, they are also tasked with babysitter roles, such as making sure their leader is hydrated all the time.