Beginning in 1903, Tour de France is now one of the biggest sporting events of the year worldwide.
How did it begin
The race was started by Henri Desgrange as a publicity stunt back in 1903. He came up with the crazy idea of a bike race around France in order to raise the profile of L’Auto, the newspaper he worked for.
The first race was a huge success with 60 riders covering an amazing 1,500 miles and it grew from there.
What is Tour de France?
The Tour de France is an annual male multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries. The first two days of racing, the Grand Depart, are held in a new location every two years. London hosted the Grand Depart in 2007 and Yorkshire hosted in 2014.
Basically, it’s a huge bike race that takes place every summer around France.
Millions of people line the route that’s made up of 21 stages raced over 23 days – yes, that means they only have two days off to rest. Ouch!
Twenty-two teams (each with up to 9 riders) from all around the world are involved in the Tour.
The riders average around 25 mph over the entire course but at some points they’ll go a lot faster than that of course.
The race is broken up into 21 different parts or ‘stages’ each with different names and a combination of flat roads and mountains.
Prologue: Each rider races against the clock in a short (usually under six miles) time trial.
Time trial: A race against the clock. Similar to a prologue but a little longer. These are shorter stages of around 30 miles (as opposed to 100-125 miles). Sometimes riders do it by themselves, sometimes they ride as a team
Mountain: These come in all shapes and sizes, climbing from sea level to 2,000 metres sometimes more than once in a day. Tough!
What is the significance of the colour of the jerseys?
Green: the green jersey is for points. The rider gets points for being the first over the line on each stage. It’s usually won by a sprinter. Britain’s Mark Cavendish has been known to get speeds over 40mph when he sprints for the line.
But the tour isn’t just about reaching the highest speeds – it’s also known for its uphill struggles. The riders climb thousands of metres up Alpine mountains, with the best rider on those stages winning a snazzy red and white polka dot jersey.
White: The white Jersey is given to the best young rider – that’s someone who’s under 25 years old.
Yellow: The prize everyone wants is the yellow Jersey. If you are wearing it, you are the overall race leader on total time since the start of the Tour.
Tour champions are often strong at everything – climbing, sprinting and time-trialling.
Want a bike like the riders? Checkout our range of cycling stores where you can spread the cost using Flexi-Fi