Tour de France : History and Interesting Facts
One of the most famous and discussed sports events in the world is the Tour de France, a multi-day bicycle race. Surprisingly, even people who are completely far from cycling have heard about it at least once. Generally, top cyclists, such as Contador, Nibali, Froome, Cadel, Cancellara, Cavendish earn from 1 to 3 million euros per year, and this is only the official salary. So, why does Tour de France cause such an interest among people?
History of Tour de France
The race was originally planned as part of an advertising campaign for the newspaper L’Auto (now L’Equipe). Tour de France was designed as a competitor to the Paris-Brest and Bordeaux-Paris cycling race. And the founder is considered to be the editor Henri Desgrange. At one of the business lunches on November 20, 1902, Desgrange got the idea of this cycling “event”.
The first race took place in 1903 and brought tremendous success to the newspaper. Athletes and spectators liked the bicycle races so much that it was decided to hold them annually. Throughout its history, Tour de France had two forced breaks: from 1915 to 1918 due to the First World War and from 1940 to 1946 due to the Second World War. In the mid-1950s, to popularize this sport, Tour de France went outside its country. For example, in 1954 the race started in the capital of Holland- Amsterdam. After 20 years, the tournament began in the British city of Plymouth and next was held in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and Luxembourg.
The average mph of Tour de France is from 3000 to 4000 kilometers. The longest is considered the cycling race of 1926- the participants overcame 5745 kilometers. In general, there are 21 stages, one day for each. To determine the race results, the time spent on each stage is added up- the sum forms the total time.
The one who covered the track faster is the winner. In addition to the winner, the best sprinter, mountain racer, and young races are determined. The leaders of these nominations, besides cash payments and medals, are awarded colored T-shirts. The most authoritative wears a yellow T-shirt, in the color of the pages of the newspaper L’Auto.
Did you know?
- During one Tour, teams use about 42 thousand bicycle flacks.
- During the Tour, the average cyclist burns about 124 thousand kilocalories. 252 double cheeseburgers per month can be eaten by riders at least without harm to their figure.
- Up until the 1960s it was normal practice to drink an alcoholic beverage after a race to numb muscle pain. Alcohol was soon banned as it was considered a stimulant.
- In 1919, only 10 people reached the finish line- it was the least number in the entire race.
- The total prize money for Tour de France is 4.3 million dollars.
- 3.5 billion viewers watch Tour de France on TV at least once every year.
Statistics for the last 109 years
For over 100 years, Tour de France has amassed a rich history.
Victories by country:
- France: 36;
- Belgium: 18;
- Spain: 13;
- USA: 10;
- Italy: 9;
- Luxembourg: 4;
- Holland: 2;
- Switzerland: 2;
- Ireland: 1;
- Denmark: 1;
- Germany: 1;
- Australia: 1.
Average speeds of Tour de France:
- 41.654 km/h: Lance Armstrong (USA)- 2005
- 40.940 km/h: Lance Armstrong (USA)- 2003
- 40.553 km/h: Lance Armstrong (USA)- 2004
Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis won the first stage, covering 13.8 kilometers at a top speed of 55.45 kilometers per hour. The result was a record for the entire history of the race stages for the fastest speed. In 2020 a lot of public events were canceled due to the pandemic. Fortunately, Tour de France was postponed until the fall. The Tour de France 2020 route consisted of 21 stages: 8 mountains, 3 mid-mountain, 9 flat stages. The next Tour de France will run from June 26 to July 18, 2021. Follow the most famous event of the year, get motivated, and ride!
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