All about the Tour de France
Le Tour de France is the ultimate biking race in the World. Every year in July, speed bikers and fans head into the Alps to watch the amazing scenery of these bicycles reaching the speeds of 60 mph amoungst the highest mountains in Europe. It might be on your bucket list to go see the Tour so let's learn a little bit more about Le Tour de France!
Running from Saturday July 5th to Sunday July 27th 2014, the 101th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,664 kilometres.
The Tale of le Tour de France
Le Tour de France began back in 1903 when a magazine called "l'Auto" wanted to promote paper sales... yeah, basically it was an advertisement. Who knew that it would evolve into one of the most spectacular and prestigious bike races in the World.
The race happens every July for three weeks. Every day is a different stage and the stages are divided into 5 different stages:
- 9 flat stages
- 5 hill stages
- 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes
- 1 individual time-trial stage
- 2 rest days
9 new stage cities
Leeds, Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Cambridge, Ypres, Oyonnax, Risoul, Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour
A rider can win that stage and $22 thousand Euros for each stage. Whoever has the fastest time throughout the stages wins the Grand Prize of $450,000 Euros and becomes the Tour De France Champ. 20-22 teams will qualify for the race and each team has 9 riders. The map of the race changes every year but basically the race is 2000 miles long and it ends in the city Champs-Elysees.
Just look for the Jersey
There are 4 different jerseys that are worn and passed to the leaders of the race. This helps the riders figure out who they have to pass to win a stage or the overall tour. Whoever holds the jersey at the end of the tour gets prize money. Here are the 4 different Jerseys and what they mean:
- The yellow jersey: the leader with the best overall time
- The green jersey: the leader with most points
- The red polka dot jersey: the best climber has the fastest times going uphill and wins a prize just for this aspect of the race
- The white jersey: is for the fastest young cyclist under 25 years old.
There are many awards and prize money that you can win at the Tour de France but the greatest award is called General Classification. this means that they take all the times of each rider and figure out who has the fastest time throughout the whole race. 4 riders have won this 5 times in their careers:
- Jacques Anquetil
- Eddie Merckx
- Bernard Hinault
- Miguel Indurain
Le Tour De France is celebrated in many forms and a huge animation production screened in 2003 called "the Triplets of Belleville". It's about a cyclist who is kidnapped from the Tour de France so another cyclist will win the race. It's very exciting to see how important this race means to the French people. Here is a clip of how the main character trains so hard with his grandmother.
Have Your Say
What do you think about le Tour de France? Let us know in the comments below!