Tour de France

While I’m not a huge cycling fan every July I always seem to get sucked into watching the Tour de France.   I think its part the beautiful scenery and part the exciting, edge of your seat racing.  Whatever it is I can’t take my eyes off it.

The Tour de cyclistFrance is a multi-stage bicycle race that takes place mainly in France (in the past the tour has gone through Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, the U.K. and Italy).  While the course is different every year the stages all remain the same.  Some of these stages include mass-start stage, individual time trials, and team time trials.

The first Tour was held in 1903 as a publicity stunt by the magazine L’Auto.  There were about 60 participants, many of whom would not make it past the first stage.  The eventual winner was Maurice Garin who finished 64 hours ahead of the last place rider.  The tour has been held annually stopping only for the two World Wars.  (1915-1919; 1940-1947).  This year’s tour had 198 participants on 22 team.

The modern editions of the Tour de France consist of 21 day-long stages over a 23-day period and cover around 2,200 miles.  There are different classifications within the Tour de France.  The biggest, most important is the General Classification.  The rider with the lowest overall time at the end of each stage gets to wear the iconic yellow jersey.  The rider who has the yellow jersey after the last stage, in Paris is the overall winner of the tour.  Another classification within the Tour is Mountains Classification.  In this the cyclist receive point for making it to the top of a mountain first.  The winner of these stages gets to wear the polka dot jersey.

For further reading about the Tour de France check out these books:

Etape: 20 great stages from the modern Tour de France

Tour de France 100: the definitive history of the world’s greatest race

The Secret Race: inside the hidden world of the Tour de France