29 July 2008

This is what you get for last place at the TdF

Belgian Wim Vansevenant (Silence Lotto/Bel) holds the red lantern of last placed competitor, on July 26, 2008, at the end of the 53 km individual time-trial and twentieth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Cerilly and Saint-Amand-Montrond. NATHALIE MAGNIEZ/AFP/Getty Images

In the Tour de France, the last place rider is almost as famous, and popular as the first place rider. There is actually a lot of planning and work in being last at the end of the Tour. It isn't just riding the slowest, you have to be the slowest, while still avoiding being so slow that you are dropped because of the time cuts. The last place rider is known as the "lanterne rouge", or red lantern, after red lantern hung on the last car of a train to let people at crossings know that the train is finished going past.

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