Every summer, riders from all over the world gather in France to participate in one of the most prestigious and well-known cycling races.
In what’s known to some as “Le Grande Boucle” or “Le Tour,” men compete in a multistage bicycle race to win the Tour de France trophy.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2,200-mile race.
What is the Tour de France?
The Tour de France is held annually, typically in July, covering a distance of around 3,500 kilometers. The race typically lasts for three weeks.
The race is open to professional cyclists from all over the world. Each team usually consists of nine riders.
The route changes yearly, and usually includes stages in the Alps and Pyrenees mountain ranges.
The race traditionally ends with a time trial in Paris.
According to VeloNews, in 2022, the total prize money for the race was around $2.4 million, split between various winners, stages and teams. The prize for the overall winner of the race is about $550,000.
How does the Tour de France work?
The Tour de France is divided into 21 stages, with a different route for each stage.
The first stage of the Tour de France is typically a short, individual time trial and sets the order of riders for the rest of the race. In the following 20 stages, all riders start together and compete for each stage win.
The cyclist with the quickest time of each stage wears the yellow jersey or “Maillot Jaune.”
The rider who finishes with the lowest overall time after 21 stages is declared the winner of the Tour de France.
The rider who has taken the most time to complete the race is known as the “lantern rouge,” or red lantern. They are named after the red brake lights on the back of a car.
A brief history of the Tour de France
Journalist Geo Lefevre came up with the idea for the race as a publicity stunt for the French sports newspaper L’Auto, hoping to increase its circulation. The newspaper’s editor, Henri Desgrange, loved the idea and served as its first director, according to History.com.
The inaugural Tour de France was held in 1903 and featured just six stages from Paris to Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes, and back to Paris.
The race has since expanded over the years to 21 stages.
The Tour de France has been held every year, except for a few years during World War I and II.
The youngest rider to ever win the Tour de France was Henric Comet, who was only 19 when he won in 1904. The oldest was Firmin Lamb, who was 36 when he won in 1922.
Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain have all won the Tour de France five times.
The event has also been plagued by doping scandals, which have led to several riders being stripped of their titles, including Lance Armstrong.
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