One of cycling's enduring superstitions is the so-called "curse of the rainbow jersey" - the unfortunate tendency of riders to have disappointing seasons while wearing the rainbow-striped jersey of world champion.
The abandon of Rui Costa, the Portuguese world champion who dropped out of the Tour with a case of pneumonia, has not only added to the mythology of this curse, but helped fuel talk of a new one. The so-called "curse of the prince's handshake."
Of five riders who shook hands with Prince William and his wife Kate at the Tour's ceremonial start in Leeds, none are still in the race:
- Mark Cavendish: Crashed out on Stage 1.
- Andy Schleck: Abandoned after Stage 3 with a knee injury suffered in a crash.
- Chris Froome: Abandoned after multiple crashes in Stage 5.
- Alberto Contador: Crashed out with a broken leg in Stage 10.
- Rui Costa: Abandoned before start of Stage 16 with pneumonia.
With next year's Tour due to start in the Netherlands, riders may well beware of any royal handshakes from the Dutch royal family before the race kicks off in Utrecht.