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From rouleurs and grimpeurs to puncheurs and sprinteurs, an explanation of the types of riders that make the peloton 

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Photographs: Offside - L'Equipe
27/7/1998 Tour de France 1998. Stage 10 - Grenoble to Les 2 Aples. Marco Pantani. Photo: Offside / L'Equipe.

The world of cycling is the fruit of France and is why so much of cycling terminology is in French. Our magazine was named in homage to the rouleurs of the peloton. But what does it take to ride as the puncheurs, the grimpeurs, the rouleurs and the sprinteurs do?

 

In celebration of the different types of riders who provide us with the drama and entertainment that make watching this sport so addictive, we have launched a range of coffee cups with four designs that graphically represent these different rider styles. So which one are you?

 

29/7/2012 London 2012 Olympic Games (Olympics). Women's Road Race. Marianne Vos punches the air in celebration at her victory in the rain from silver medalist Lizzie Armistead. Photo: Offside / L'Equipe. armitstead (elizabeth) - (gbr) - *** Local Caption *** ROUTE DAMES /
Marianne Vos taking the win at the 2012 London Olympics

The Rouleurs
They’re not picky on which type of terrain they go hard on, they’ll happily go hard on it all. They are the riders who come into their own when on the attack. They possess strength and style with a stroke that has been created to sustain power. They can be the super domestiques, the team warriors as easily as being the stars of the show. Some of the best past and present include Marianne Vos, Eddy Merckx, Johan Museeuw, Thomas De Gendt and Peter Sagan.

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Nairo Quintana taking the win on Stage 17 of the Tour de France on Col de Portet

The Grimpeurs
These are the riders who ascend up mountains like gravity doesn’t exist, they thrive as the air thins where others falter. The mountain goats of the peloton, where nations such as Colombia seem to breed them in abundance. Nairo Quintana, Luis Albert Herrera, Miguel Ángel Lopez and Egan Bernal to name but a few. Europe also has its stars, past and present, with the likes of Marco Pantani, Emma Pooley and Romain Bardet.

From one puncheur to another, Valverde congratulates Alaphilippe on taking the Liège-Bastogne-Liège crown
From one puncheur to another, Valverde congratulates Alaphilippe on taking the Liège-Bastogne-Liège crown

The Puncheurs
The riders that pack a punch…they excel on rolling terrain with short steep climbs. Regions like the Ardennes and the Basque Country are prime puncheur topography. It’s all about short and explosive and none get more explosive than the likes of Anna van der Breggen, Alejandro Valverde, Julian Alaphilippe and Dan Martin.

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Mark Cavendish has taken more Tour de France sprint finishes than any other rider

The Sprinteurs
We all know what the quest of these riders is about – speed and lots of it. They come in all shapes and sizes, from your Cavendishs to your Kittels. Their capability to travel at unthinkable velocity with cat-like reactions whilst gauging the precise moment to launch the winning move is what makes these riders a breed of their own within the peloton. The flat is their friend, and as we’ve seen in this year’s Tour de France the mountains are no refuge for them. Some of the greats include Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Mark Cavendish, Mario Cipollini, Marcel Kittel and Erik Zabel.