One of the most prestigious and challenging sporting events globally, the Tour de France attracts millions of viewers each year. Here are 15 interesting facts about the Tour de France.
1. A High-Calorie Diet Is A Must
Riders cover about 160 to 225 kilometers in a day with an average speed of 40 km/h, which would burn anywhere between 5,000 to 7,000 calories.
2. Men Only
The Grand Tours comprising of Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, and Giro d’Italia, is a three-week event exclusive to men.
3. Enough Sweat For 2 Showers
A rider sweats around 1 L/h in a 6 hour day ride. This results in 126 liters of sweat over the 21 day racing period, excluding the two rest days.
4. Riding On Rest Days
Most participants ride around 35 Km at a pace of 25 Km/h on rest days to flush out residual lactic acid and stay focused on racing.
5. L’Auto Started The Tour De France
The Tour de France was an idea proposed by a French journalist named Geo Lefevre to boost the newspaper’s sales called L’Auto in 1902, currently known as L’Équipe.
6. Victory By Just 8 Seconds
An American rider named Greg LeMond holds the record for the smallest winning margin of 8 seconds over a French rider named Laurent Fignon.
7. Hard Work Pays Off
The Tour winner receives a check of approximately $600,000, which is normally split amongst the teammates. The total prize money is about $4.3 million for the entire race.
8. The Magic Number
Riders need to use bikes weighing a minimum of 15 pounds or 6.8Kg to participate in the Tour set by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s governing body.
9. The Race Was Stopped Twice
The Tour de France was delayed during WWI from 1915 to 1918 and during WWII from 1940 to 1946.
10. Answering The Call Of Nature
A group of riders stop at the side of the road and collectively urinate. They normally take a break in the first few minutes of the race.
11. Fastest Tour De France Record
American road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong covered nearly 3,600 Km in 86.3 hours at an average speed of 41.7 Km/h or 25.9 mph.
12. Yellow Jersey Origins
The leader’s jersey color is yellow as L’Auto, the newspaper that started and sponsored the Tour, used to print on yellow paper.
13. Never Too Late To Win
Belgian bicycle racer Firmin Lambot is the oldest to win the Tour de Grand at 36 in 1922.
14. The Longest Tour In History
The Tour de France of 1926, consisting of seventeen stages, was the longest Tour with a total distance of 5745 Km.
15. Winner Caught Cheating
French bicycler Maurice Garin, the winner of the first Tour of 1903, was caught cheating in the second Tour of 1904.
That list seemed to race by as fast as one of those Tour de France cyclists. I hope you caught some interesting factoids!