Tour De France, the most difficult bicycle race that attracts the best riders from around the world. Before we get into the details, let's talk about how the race began.
July 1, 1903, 60 men gathered outside of Café Reveil Matin in the Parisian suburb of Montegeron with their bicycles. The race was dreamt about by Journalist Geo Lefevre to boost his struggling daily sports newspaper, L'Auto. The race was a 1,500-mile clockwise loop of the country that consisted of six stages. Phew, that sounds pretty rough. 23 out of the 60 riders abandoned the first stage of the race. The last stage of the race began on July 18 where 20,000 people watched the final 21 out of 60 riders finish the race. As a result, the newspaper increased its circulation by six times.
WOW! How cool is that? Now 117 years later the race continues. Tour De France consists of 21 day-long stages over 23 days and covers 2,200 miles. The race alternates between counterclockwise and clockwise circuits of France. 20-22 teams usually participate with 8 riders on each team. Prize money has always been awarded to the winner. The first year (1901) was 20,000 francs and has increased to 500,000 euros (2021).
This year, Tour De France will begin on Saturday, June 26, and end on Sunday, July 18.
Over the 21 days, there will be 21 stages that include:
- 9 flat stages
- 3 hilly stages
- 7 mountain stages (including 5 summit finishes)
- 2 individual time trials
- 2 rest days.
One stage is performed every day and covers about 225 kilometers (139.81 miles) and takes 5.5 hours to complete. Every stage has a winner and the rider that completed the most stages in the shorter amount of time, wins overall.
Are you going to watch the race this year? To kick off the start of Tour De France we have a fun coloring page for your little ones to enjoy with Womple (he didn't want to miss out on the fun)!