18 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Tour De France
Hooked on the Tour De France? So are we! Last week, we looked at Champagne Bikes On A Lemonade Budget, so if you’re feeling inspired and want to get into cycling (without breaking the bank!), make sure you check it out…
But for now, as it rolls into it’s 18th stage, we’ve compiled a list of 18 facts that you probably didn’t know about The Tour De France!
1. Organising The First Tour
The first ever Tour De France was organised by Frenchman, Henri Desgrange, a keen and talented cyclist, who set 12 track cycling records.
2. The First Winner
The first Tour De France was won by Italian-born Frenchman, Maurice Gain. Completing the event at an average of 25km per hour, Gain picked up a handsome 6,075 francs for his victory.
In 1904, he went on to win the second Tour De France, only to have his title stripped from him, after being accused of cheating, along with 8 other riders.
3.The First Yellow Jersey
Eugene Christophe was the first to receive the prestigious yellow jersey in 1919.
4. And talking about 1919…
Out of the 67 that started the race, only 10 riders finished the 13th edition of the Tour De France!
5. How Many Miles??
You think the cyclists of today’s Tour De France have it hard? Try being a cyclist in the 1926 race – they had to cover an eye watering 3570 miles, making this year’s total of 2200 seem like a walk (or cycle!) in the park.
6. Back & Better Than Ever…
After the Second World War halted the Tour De France for 7 years, in 1947 the race returned as a symbol the nation’s drive and enthusiasm.
7. Drinking & Riding – Probably not the best idea…
But up until the 60’s, it wasn’t uncommon to see participants having a beer or two. It was thought that alcohol may numb the pain, but this was later banned, as it was thought to count as a stimulant.
8. We’ve got to talk about Jacques Anquetil…
You’ve probably heard of his name before, but did you know that he was the first cyclist to win the Tour De France 5 times? His first victory came in 1957, and his following victories came in 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964.
9. And let’s not forget about Eddy Merckx…
Eddie also won The Tour De France a staggering 5 times, but also has the title of most stages wins…34 to be exact!
10. 36 Wins For France
France have picked up a mighty 36 wins since the tour started, making them the nation with the most victories.
But although it seemed to be going extremely well for the host nation, a Frenchman hasn’t won the Tour De France since 1985, when Bernaud Hinault won the 72nd edition.
11. Just 8 seconds in it
In 1989, Greg Lemond won the Tour De France, with Laurent Fignon coming in at a close second, just 8 seconds behind…so close, yet so far!
12. Let’s talk about 1999 to 2005
If you’ve seen the Tour De France winner’s table, you may see that between 1999 and 2005, there is no winner listed. That’s because the results for the 7 years were voided after Lance Armstrong had all of his victories taken away after allegations of doping surfaced.
13. The Year of The Brits!
Bradley Wiggins became the first ever British man to win The Tour De France in 2012. His team mate, Chris Froome continued the winning streak for the UK, winning the 100th edition of the tour in 2013.
14. The year of the women…
…well, kind of. Although women aren’t allowed to compete in the Tour De France, in 2014, an elite, one day race called ‘La Course’ was held for women.
This year, event organisers have decided to stretch ‘La Course’ into a 2-day race, to coincide with the 18th and 20th stages of the Tour De France.
15. Calorie Burning
On an ‘easy stage’ of the tour, a rider will burn around 4,000 calories, but on a grueling mountain stage, you’re looking at more like 7,000!
16. Fuelling The Ride
Riders consume around 6,000-8,000 calories a day during the tour, and this is made up of both liquid and solid food.
17. Rest days…who needs em’?
Riders have two rest days during the 23-day competition, but the majority of riders still get out on their bikes and ride for a few hours. This is to make sure they flush out the lactic acid and keep their mind focused and their eyes on the prize.
The rest days do however allow for a little R&R – riders are permitted to have a lay in until 9 or 10am, and have afternoon naps scheduled.
18. Winning The Big Bucks
Let’s get to the most important bit…the prize money!
In this year’s Tour De France, the overall winner of the Tour De France is set to earn a whopping 500,000€, with second place scooping 200,000€, and third place, 100,000€.
So with just two days to go, who have you got your money on?