What’s the story?

The greatest bike race on earth, aka the Tour de France, is currently gracing our TV screens. It began in Brussels last weekend and finishes in Paris on July 28.

What can we expect?

There are few sights more enthralling than a panning aerial shot of a professional cycling peloton in full flight through the open countryside, a kaleidoscopic rainbow of tightly packed jerseys bobbing together like salmon valiantly fighting their way upstream.

Blimey. What else can you tell me?

It’s a tough one this year. Race director Christian Prudhomme described the course, which features five mountain top finishes with three rising above 2,000 metres (6,500ft) in altitude, as “the highest Tour in history”. It is tipped to favour the strong climbers among the GC contenders.

What does GC mean?

General classification. The competition to win the yellow jersey.

Who are the GC contenders?

Egan Bernal (Ineos), Geraint Thomas (Ineos), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma).

Where’s Chris Froome?

He’s injured.

Never mind. Perhaps he can do a great comeback. Like that Lance Armstrong chap?

We don’t talk about him.

You said it began in Brussels. That isn’t in France.

It’s not.

Do you actually know anything about cycling?


Shall I mansplain it for you?

No need. Someone on the internet will be along to do that in a moment.