Tour de France

Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race, that stretches through France and has become the heart and soul of cycle sports. The tour is therefore considered to be one of the biggest sporting events to be held annually and it attracts millions of visitors along the road, plus millions of tv­viewers all over the world. The next race will be held at the beginning of July in 2016.

Betting companies offer odds well in advance prior to the race, on race­winner and there are also odds on stage winner. Sports cycling is fairly limited in terms of odds, compared to some other sports. But this only makes the odds they do offer on this gem of a bicycle race all the more exciting. 

FACTS ABOUT TOUR DE FRANCE

Tour de France along with Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, make up the holy trinity of cycling sports. Tour de France has been spinning since 1903. The tour is divided into 20 stages ­ approximately 120 miles each.

The sports magazine L’Auto­Velo lost in court and had to change its name to only L’Auto. Le Velo was a competitive magazine and it did not like L’Autos use of the word Velo (French for bicycle) in their name. Partly as payback, but also to increase sales, L’Auto made it known that the world’s biggest bicycle­race was going to be held in the summer of 1903.

The plan was that the race was going to start on the 31 of May and finish on the 5 July. But when only 15 cyclists had registered for the race, they had to put it further into the summer ­ to the 1 of July and at the same time increase the winnings by quite a lot. It was also decided that the race was going to be shorter than it was first intended, from the 1 of July to the 19 of July. In the end, the race started on the 19 of July and the happy premier­winner was Maurice Garin.

The number of stages are about 20 in total. There are flat and mountainous stages, and each stage has a winner. The race has some scenic routes that stretches across the Alps and the Pyrenees. The most classical stage is of course the final stage which ends on the Champs­Élysées in central Paris.

Since 1919 the Tour de France­leader has always worn the yellow leader­jersey. The leader is the cyclist with best time over all the stages. Eddy Merckx is the cyclist who have worn the jersey over most stages ­ 96 stages in total. Other prominent cyclists in the tournament are Bernard Hinault and Lance Armstrong, although they have been mixed up in doping scandals and has been stripped of their medals.

Tour de France is in many ways a great competition. In part for the amazing achievements of the athletes, but also for the beautiful scenery surrounding the race. Although the race does have a bit of a reputation at the moment, mainly because of the huge scandal that Lance Armstrong­the ambassador of competitive cycling was involved in. 

Published: 2015-12-28

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