The Tour de France - the most prestigious cycling race in the world

Posted on Mar 12, 2022      190

On November 20, 1902, Henri Desgrange, editor of the newspaper L’Auto, and journalist Geo Lefevre were having lunch in a Paris Cafe. Their conversation turned to the famous Paris-Brest-Paris cycling race of the time. These competitions were sponsored by Le Petit Journal newspaper, which gave it good publicity and new subscribers.

Suddenly, Geo Lefevre asked the editor - why not organize your own bicycle race? Henri Desgrange had been a famous cyclist in his youth, holding several records in the 50 and 100 kilometer races and the 100 miles. Desgrange liked the idea, and in the summer of the following year the first race of the Tour de France was held, which then became the most prestigious competition of professional cyclists.

Already the first competitions brought the newspaper L’Auto an unprecedented growth in popularity. Only during the Tour the number of subscribers grew from 25 to 65 thousand. And the circulation of the newspaper with each competition only increased. Now the history of the Tour de France is already over 100 years old. The races were not held only during the First and Second World Wars. Naturally, over the years there have been many interesting events at the Tour de France.

Interesting facts about the Tour de France. The race comprises 21 stages, each of which is allotted one day. During this time, participants overcome a total of 3 - 4 thousand kilometers. The record length of the race was set in 1926 when the athletes have overcome 5745 kilometers.

In the early years of the race riders carried all the necessary tools and spare parts for repairs. Breakdowns attempted to eliminate directly on the track or go to the nearest village in search of a blacksmith, for example. After all, for the stage to be valid, the cyclist must reach the finish line.

A true legend of the Tour de France was the American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who could win a record number of races - seven. But, in 2013, the athlete admitted to taking doping. Adding that otherwise it was simply impossible to win such several victories. Armstrong was deprived of all the titles he had won.

Another record-breaker of the Tour de France is Magnus Backstedt from Sweden. But not by the number of wins. He is known for being the heaviest of all Tour de France participants. Weight of the Swede is 94 kilograms.

Until the sixties the consumption of alcohol by participants of the Tour de France was not limited in any way, even during the race could drink. But then alcohol was recognized as a stimulant and it was forbidden.

Television people assure that the Tour de France is the third most popular sporting event in the world, second only to the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. During the race, it is watched on television by over three billion viewers.

World War I caused enormous devastation in Europe. And the roads in France were in a deplorable state. It is not surprising that of the participants in the race of the Tour de France in 1919 to reach the finish line were only 10 athletes. And the average speed was just over 20 kilometers per hour.

The oldest competitor in the Tour de France, Pierre Cogan, passed away in January 2013. He did not live to see his 99th birthday for just a few days. Cogan took part in the Tour de France seven times. His best result was a seventh place in 1950.