Tour de France
The French cycling race called Tour de France has become one of the most renowned sporting events in the world. Highlighting brilliant sportsmen like Lance Armstrong, this French competition now attracts cycling enthusiasts as well as visitors from everywhere!
Imitated by others now, France was the first country to create an international cycling race accross its territory. When launched in 1903, nobody expected the so-called Tour de France
would be such a success!
How did Le Tour begin?
The two journalists of Auto Magazine
who thought about this gigantic French competition could - hopefully - promote this inventive project through their newspaper. Most of the French did not trust them first, but when 60 cycle sportsmen showed up on the starting line at Montgeron (Paris suburb) on 1 July, 1903, everyone wanted to enjoy the show!
The very first cycling race consisted in six stages
(daily segments), i.e. 471 kms, and lasted 19 days. 21 riders, both professionals and amateurs, eventually completed the cycling Tour, led by Maurice Garin. Since then, Le Tour
has been a traditional sporting event in France. Adventurous people as well as sportsmen have been entering the competition and roadside enthusiast crowds have swollen.
Mountain stages were added to the cycle race in 1910, in the Pyrénées. The final winner of the Tour has generally proved to pull ahead of the others during these demanding segments.
In 1926, the Tour de France started from a provincial town (Évian) for the first time and proved to be the longest route 5,745 km!
Throughout the France Tour 95 editions, every Départements
have been visited. Parts of the bordering countries have been also included year after year from 1947 (when a stage was set in Luxembourg and Brussels). The overall distance today achieves 3,500 kms and the utimate stage has been on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris since 1975 - a spectacular event that gathers thousands of visitors every year!
Click here to visit the official website!
The French competition has become a real international challenge
. An increasing number of foreign cyclists have been charmed over the years, from Belgians and Englishmen to Colombians, eager to win a mountain stage or a time trial, or to receive the famous Yellow Jersey
The Yellow Jersey is the main symbol of the Tour de France: it is worn by the leader of the race, awarding his extraordinary performance.
is so far the Tour cyclist who received the highest number of yellow jerseys.
The next awards are the Green Jersey
, the Polka-dotted Jersey
and the White Jersey
. They are worn by the best sprinter, the best mountain cyclist and the best young cyclist (under 25).
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