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What is Tour de France?

Tour de France

About Tour de France

What is Tour de France?

Tour de France is considered to be the world’s “most prestigious and most difficult” bicycle race. It is an annual men’s event, which is primarily held in France. The race also occasionally passes through neighbouring countries. The tour is a multiple stage bicycle race, which consists of 21 day-long stages over the course of 23 days, covering approximately 3,500 kilometers.

Also known as the “Le Grande Boucle” or “Le Tour”, the tour is considered as the World Cup of bicycle racing. The winners get the prestigious Tour de France trophy and a cash prize of over $500,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 crore).

The tour was organised for the first time in 1903 to increase sales of newspaper L’Auto. It is currently run by Amaury Sport Organisation. The tour has been held annually since it began in 1903 except for few years when it was stopped because of the two World Wars. As the race became popular, the reach of the tour began to extend in other parts of the world as well. Riders from all over the country began to participate. The race now garners around 3.5 billion television viewers every year and is attended by 12 million people in France. The event is free to attend.

Format of the race

The tour is a team sport and features 198 cyclists in 22 teams of nine racers.  The race is divided is split in 21 stages. There are 9 flat stages, 3 hilly stages, 7 mountain stages, 2 individual time trials, and 2 rest days. Every day one stage is performed covering approximately 225 kilometers which takes over 5 hours to complete. The tour is completed in 21 days, held usually around July, covering 3,500 kilometers.

The cyclist completing the most stages in the shortest time, and the winner of the each stage goes on to win the title of Tour de France.

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