Bastille Day

14 July is a national holiday in France, the anniversary of the French revolution in 1789. As well as a Soviet-era military parade up in Paris – I think only North Korea still does on of these – it also means massive pressure on French riders to win the day’s stage. Many people have the day off work and the crowds can be big and expectations high.

Here’s a list of previous Bastille Day winners.

2009: Cavendish
2008: Piepoli*
2007: Gerdemann
2006: Popovych
2005: Moncoutié
2004: Virenque
2003: Vinokourov
2002: Kroon
2001: Jalabert
2000: Vincente Garcia

Statistically three Frenchmen from the past ten years is an above average score given that French riders don’t usually score 30% of stage wins… but the sample size is a bit small. Regardless of who wins, expect the French teams to go beserk trying. Note the tactical element, that if a break goes without a rider from one French team then it’s very likely to get hauled back. For example if Cofidis miss the move, then they will chase down FDJ, Ag2r and BBox-Bouygues as they want the glory for themselves.

So the first hour of racing could be very lively unless a riders from an even mix of teams get away.