Seeing as I’ve been thinking of little else this month but the Tour de France, I thought I’d explore the language of road cycling racing. Many are beautiful French words, here are just a few…

(From the French for a small ball.) The main group of riders on the road in the race. There’s few things in July as graceful as watching the peloton sweep past a field full of sunflowers or across an elegant bridge.

(From the French for servant.) A rider whose job is to support the other team members, particularly the leader. They collect and distribute food and drink, sacrifice their bike if a leader has mechanical problems and ride selflessly for the benefit of the team.

(From the verb ‘to look after’; pronounced ‘swahn-yer’.) A team masseur and personal assistant to the riders.

Lanterne rouge
Named after the red light on the last carriage of a train, this is the rider who’s in last place overall.

The five remaining stages of this year’s Tour will take place against the backdrop of the awe-inspiring Alps and beautiful Paris.

Ah…c’est magnifique!