Today is the first day of July and with that comes the beginning of the Tour de France, the most prestigious bike race in all of professional cycling. This year the tour runs from July 1 – July 24. In this two-week period, the riders will cover 2,068 miles.
Over 21 stages, the riders will do flat stages, epic climbs (Mt. Ventoux being the most famous), team time trials, and individual time trials. This year the race begins in Copenhagen, then it spends an additional two days in Denmark before the racing begins in earnest in France. This will be the 109th edition of the race.
The Tour de France was first held in 1903 as a vehicle to bolster sales of the newspaper L’Auto (now called L’Équipe). The race has taken place every year since 1903. The only the race was cancelled was due to the the two world wars.
The route of the race changes every year but the format stays mostly the same. The race ends in Paris when the riders enter the city via the Champs-Élysées after riding a flat and abbreviated stage of 70 miles. Most of the stages other than the time trials over 200 miles. Then the riders do a a criterium-style race that loops around the Arc de Triomphe a number of times.
There’s also a professional women’s cycling version of the race that for a many years only lasted a couple days. For 2022, the race has been renamed to the Tour de France Femmes and the women pros will ride a full stage race just like the men.
Le Tour has seen glory and scandal and made many pro riders famous over the years. Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurian all won the tour 5 times. Lance Armstrong won the tour 7 times in a row, but years later he was stripped of his titles when he was accused by his former teammates of doping.
Do you plan to watch the beginning of the Tour de France over the July 4th weekend? Have you ever been to France? Have you done any cycling on the roads used during the tour?
Please like, comment, and share if you liked this post. Until next time, I hope you all have a lovely long weekend whatever you might be doing. Maybe the tour will inspire you to put in some miles of your own.