Tour de France Cycling Event

The Tour de France is an annual cycling race that takes place mostly in France, with the race route occasionally running through neighboring countries. The race is run over a course of 23 days and has 21 stages within it. Up to 200 cyclists participate, and will race over 2,000 miles over the entirety of the race.

Overview of The Tour de France

The Tour de France was established as a publicity stunt in 1903 by Henri Desgrange. He wanted to come up with a crazy race around France to bring attention to the newspaper company that employed him. While it may have been a stunt in the beginning, the first race hosted 60 cyclists who raced over 1,500 miles!

Over time, the race has grown to include more cyclists, more mileage, and more rules. A regulatory committee was introduced to lessen cheating before and during the race, and additional stages were added to up the difficulty of the race. The route continues to be altered every year, and the popularity of the race has only grown.

Race Format

The Tour de France is a 23 day race that is split up into 21 stages. These stages are broken up into categories called: prologues, flats, time trials, and mountains. The prologue stage is a short time trial, usually under six miles, where cyclists race against the clock. In flats, big packs of cyclists will race together in a pack for around 125 miles. This part of the race will usually end in a breakaway by one cyclist or a sprint to the finish by a few. The next stage is called the timed trial. This stage is similar to the prologue, but is a longer distance of around 30 miles. These trials can be done by individuals or as a team. The last kind of stage is the mountain. In this stage, cyclists climb from around sea level to 2,000 metres on mountains, sometimes doing this several times in one mountain stage. 

Overall, the cyclist who competes the best among all of these stages is declared the winner of the Tour de France. There is also a prize for the best overall team and some other more specific awards for achievements made during individual stages.

Awards and Trophies

There are several different awards given during the Tour de France. Of course, there is a prize for finishing the race first, but there are also awards for what racers do throughout the race. Aside from first place finisher, awards are also given for:

  • The most aggressive rider
  • The best performing team
  • The best young rider under 25
  • The best climber
  • Finishers at certain stages of the race

At the end of the race, the first to finish will be awarded money from a prize pool. In 2020, the prize pool was around 2.3 million euros (2.7 million dollars), and the first place prize was around 500 thousand euros (591 thousand dollars).