We all know that the Tour de France is the biggest cycling competition in the world, with riders traversing from Leeds to Paris over a three week period. But we’ve dug up some little known facts for you on the event before you watch the finish on July 27th.
Did you know….?
1. Twenty-two teams participate in the race, and each team is made up of nine cyclists, which comes out to 198 riders. Rules require that each team member be dressed identically: the same team shorts, jersey, socks, shoes, gloves, and a helmet.
2. The Tour de France was actually created as a promotion for the French newspaper L’Auto-Velo. The pages of the newspaper were yellow so race organizers designated that the race leader’s jersey should be yellow, hence the maillot jaune.
3. If you were wondering how riders hold it for a day’s race, which can last for more than five hours, they DONT. There is a rule that gives riders permission to take a restroom break (a pause pipi a la franchise). Everyone goes and this way no one gains an unfair advantage while someone else is using the bathroom.
4. The day’s stage doesn’t usually pick up from where the previous day’s stage ended. Instead, there are long drives, boat rides, or airplane flights to get cyclists to the next starting line.
5. Early Tour organizers designed routes to be as grueling as possible to make the race more of a spectacle. Which isn’t an understatement– three cyclists have died in crashes.
6. Instead of drinking energy drinks, riders used to drink wine. Guess there’s a reason this thing is hosted in France…
7. Even though the race is mostly individual, the various teams are supposed to get behind their team leaders in the figurative and sometimes literal sense.
8. Most cyclists who race in the Tour de France are slim and light. The heaviest rider was 94kg, which is almost overweight in the cycling world.
9. Incline is a huge part of the race. Those participants in the 2013 Tour de France, for example, climbed the equivalent of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Mount Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Everest.
10. The Tour de France has always finished on the Champs-Élysées in Paris ever since 1975.
Happy viewing on the 27th! Who do you think will cross the finish line first this year?