Tour Talk - Parlez-vous francais?

  • La Rochelle

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Pierre Torset

    La Rochelle

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Pierre Torset

Tour Talk - Parlez-vous francais? France fr


Impress your buddies in the bunch by learning more about the terms used in the coverage and how to pronounce them like a Parisian.


Le Peloton

  • Peloton (peh-loh-ton): the pack of cyclists

  • Contre le Montre (kontr-lah-montr): time trial (literally: against the clock), abbreviated to CLM during the telecast

  • CLM individuel (un-deev-eed-wel): individual time trial

  • CLM par équipes (pa-ray-keep): team time trial

  • Départ (day-pahr): start

  • Arrivée (ah-ree-vay): finish

  • Étape (ay-tahp): stage

  • Chrono (kro-no): time check

  • Écart (ay-cahr): the time gap between riders

  • Repos (reh-po): rest day

Les Maillots

  • Maillot (meh-yo): jerseys. These are worn during the race by the current leaders in four competitions.
  • Maillot jaune (jzon): yellow jersey. For the lowest sprint overall sprint time.
  • Maillot vert (vehr): green jersey. For the most sprint points.
  • Maillot blanc à pois rouges (blon ah-pwah-roojz): polka-dot jersey. For the best mountain climber or grimpeur (grum-per).
  • Maillot blanc (blon): white jersey. For the best rider under 25 years.
  • Classement (klahs-mon): the latest placings and results, or classification
  • Classement provisoire (proh-veez-wahr): provisional rankings after a particular stage.
  • Sommet (sohm-meh): summit
  • Tête de la course (teht de lah koors): race leaders
  • Groupe des poursuivants (groop day poor-swee-von): the group of chasers

Pronunciation tips:

  • Silent letters often appear at the end of words.
  • Liaison or blurring between words occurs when the second word starts with a vowel sound. (eg: Champs Élysées is shom-zel-ee-say)
  • Consonants often sound similar in French and English. Some of the more difficult ones: h is silent; j is like the ‘s’ in ‘leisure’ (jz); and r is ‘rolled’. Beware of the x, which can be silent at the end of a word, or sound like ‘x’, ‘z’ or ’s’.
  • Nasal vowels are not used in English. They often appear where a syllable contains a vowel followed by single ‘n’ or ‘m’. These three different sounds,
  • en/an/on (on), all have similarity to the ‘on’ in ‘song’ when the ‘g’ sound is left off; and ain/un/in (un) are similar to the sound of ‘un’ in ‘sung’ without the ‘g’.
  • Single vowels don’t often conform to English sounds. The a is similar to the ‘u’ in ‘up’ (ah); i is similar to the ‘ee’ in ‘keep’ but shorter (ee); and o is either similar to the ‘o’ in ‘hot’ (oh), or at the end of a word, the ‘o’ in ‘no’ (o). There are three ‘e’ sounds: e with no accent is similar to the unclear ‘e’ sound in ‘the’ (e); é is similar to the ‘ay’ in ‘bay’ (ay); and è and ê are similar to the ‘e’ in ‘end’ (eh).
  • Vowel group pronunciations are not always obvious. For example, au is similar to the ‘o’ in ‘for’ (o); ai is similar to the ‘e’ in ‘pet’ but longer (eh); eu is similar to the ‘er’ in ‘herb’ (er); and eau is similar to the ‘o’ in ‘no’ (o).

By Melissa Giles.