If this is your first July following the Tour de France, let me just say I am desperately jealous. Immersing yourself in the action, mystery, and pageantry of the Tour is second to none in terms of sports fandom. And the first cut is the deepest. My earliest memory of following the Tour was in 1999. I was on a family vacation in Washington, D.C., and I remember keeping up with Lance's progress daily in USA Today. It was hard to understand exactly what was happening. Even in mainstream media, the coverage veered into arcane territory. Thankfully, with the wealth of online information available 23 years on from that first Tour that Armstrong "won," it's a little easier to be a beginner fan. But I thought that our sport still lacked a really comprehensive guide that broke down the basics of the race, tactics, teams, and more. So I hope this guide helps you out, if this is your first time following the Tour. Embrace the newness of it all, because if you're like me, it won't take long before the Tour becomes an obsession.
— Spencer Powlison, Senior Editor