Interesting and Surprising Facts About the Tour De France

The Tour de France is perhaps the biggest racing event in the cycling calendar, and the certainly the most well know. Consisting of 21 stages, with 22 teams of 9 riders taking part, it is a truly universal and gruelling event. Read on to find out more abo

The 97th Tour de France began on July 3, 2010. Competitors from across the world left Rotterdam, on a journey that will cover a total distance of over 2000 miles before arriving at the finish line; the Champs Elysees, on Sunday July 25, 2010.

The Tour de France is perhaps the biggest racing event in the cycling calendar, and the certainly the most well know. Consisting of 21 stages, with 22 teams of 9 riders taking part, it is a truly universal and gruelling event. Read on to find out more about this epic event.

• The American, Lance Armstrong, holds the record as the only rider to have won the Tour seven times, winning every year between 1999 and 2005.

• An ever extreme event, 4 racers have died whilst competing in the Tour de France.

• The route of the course, and the total distance, changes every year, however one can expect many hill climbs and over 2000 miles to be travelled.

• The tallest rider to compete was Johan van Summeren, who stood at an impressive 198cm.

• The shortest rider of all time was Samuel Dumoulin who stood at a mere 158cm.

• The youngest ever winner of the Tour de France was Henri Cornet, at two weeks short of his twentieth birthday, in 1904.

• The oldest winner was 36-year-old Firmin Lambot, of Belgium, in 1922.

• France is the country with the most Tour de France wins (36), followed by Belgium (18), then Spain (11).

• More than 130,000 calories will be burned by a rider in the Tour de France.

• The leader of the Tour wears the yellow jersey. The reason for this is because yellow was the colour of L’Auto, the magazine that the race was launched in order to promote further.

• Over the history of the Tour, there have been 250 riders who have each ahd the honour of wearing the yellow jersey.

• The Belgian rider, Eddy Merckx, holds the record for the longest time spent in yellow jersey, a record which stands at 111 days

• Joop Zoetemelk holds the record for most tours completed as a rider. During his career, he completed an astonishing 16 tours.

• It is estimated that over 15,000,000 spectators will line the route at some point over the three week duration of the race.

• The biggest winning margin stands at 28 minutes and 27 seconds and was set by Fausto Coppi in 1952.

• There is a total of 2,877,705 Euros in prize money handed out over the entire Tour.

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