Tour de France — Who will be the Lanterne Rouge?

Last year I did some bike racing, and at the Hillsboro Roubaix I had the distinction of crossing the finish line, looking back, and seeing them dismantling the scoring tent.  Just as the leader of the Tour de France is the maillot jaune for the yellow shirt he wears, the last finisher is known as the red lantern, or lanterne rouge.  There is actually some honor in this — I was the last to finish the Hillsboro Roubaix, but at least I finished.  A lot of people dropped out.

The Tour de France is a grueling competition – over 2000 miles in 3 weeks, and the peloton averages over 25 mph on that.  Just finishing is an enormous athletic accomplishment.   Especially if things aren’t going that well for you, often the case if you’re in last place.   A lot of riders wind up in the voiture balai, the “broom wagon” that sweeps up the drop-outs.

So who, you ask, is the likely Lanterne Rouge this year?  My money is on the man who brought up the rear both of the last two years:  Wim Vansevenant.  Can he pull it off again?  After two stages, he’s 178th out of 179.  He’s a comfortable 9 minutes 1 second behind the leader, and only one rider stands in his way — Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez, who is a minute and 22 seconds behind Wim.   And Soler is riding with a probable broken wrist.  Unlikely he’ll finish.


Follow-up with data:

Nobody has ever earned the Lanterne Rouge three times.  Two-time winners are:

Jimmy Casper (2001, 2004)

Daniel Masson (1922, 1923)

Gerhard Schönbacher (1979, 1980)

And of course Wim Vansevenant (2006, 2007).

Jimmy Casper is also in the race this year, but Wim has almost 7:30 on him already.   Go Wim!


2 Responses to “Tour de France — Who will be the Lanterne Rouge?”

  1. Thanks for giving these guys the credit they deserve! Yes, I think Wim is aiming for a third Lanterne Rouge finish. With good luck getting to the Champs Elysees he will do it.

  2. Lupita Sosa says:

    Congratulations, he did it.

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