The Tour de France is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. The Tour de France is one of the most famous bicycle races in the world,and the world’s most high profile bicycle race.
First staged in 1903, the race runs through the entire country of France and other bordering countries. It covers 3,500 km, or 2,200 miles and held for three weeks every July ,21 stages, with 2 rest days, with the longest day in the saddle is not more than 7 hours, and is comprised of approximately 20 professional teams of nine riders per team. It is considered to be the biggest test of endurance out of all sports. Lance Armstrong, an American cyclist, is the only rider to date to have won the Tour seven times (1999–2005) .
The first ever bicycle race is thought to have been a 1,200-meter race held on the May 31 1868 at the Parc de Saint-Cloud, Paris.
Henri Desgrange, a French cyclist and journalist, started the Tour de France in 1903. His newspaper, L’Auto (now L’Equipe),the Tour was a way to promote the newly launched L’Auto Magazine, sponsoring the race for advertising purposes and as a way to promote the new rag.
The paper’s competitor, Le Vélo, at that time was the only paper reporting on cycle racing.
On 1903 The plan was a five-stage race from 31 May to 5 July, starting in Paris and stopping in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes before returning to Paris. Tour de France route had 6 stages that were spread across 19 days, with 1 to 3 rest days between stages, and grueling stages lasting as long as 18 Hours and 9 Minutes. The first winner was 32 year old Frenchman Maurice Garin who completed the course going from Chimney Sweep to Tour de France Champion at a average speed of 25.7 km per hour.
Now there are 21 stages in Tour de France, starting in Monaco and finishing in Paris on the Champs Élysées. Tour de France has taken place every year, interrupted only by World War I and World War II.
• There are overall four different types of Jersey’s that are awarded for different accomplishments:
• Yellow Jersey: (maillot jaune) is worn by the General Classification Leader – Yellow Jersey is worn by the rider with the fastest COMBINED times.. It is thought that the color was chosen because of the color of the paper l’Auto was printed on.
• Green Jersey: (maillot vert) worn by the leading SPRINTER.
• Red-Polka Dotted Jersey: wears a white jersey with red dots (maillot à pois rouges), inspired by a jersey that one of the organisers, Félix Lévitan, worn by the best CLIMBER, always referred to as the King of the Mountains.
• White Jersey: Young Rider Standings – worn by the BEST YOUNG RIDER The rider aged under 26 who places highest in the GC . introduced in 1975, (under 25).
• Yellow Cap: Leaders of the Teams.
• Red Number: Fighting Spirit Standings or Combatively Award – is awarded to the rider who displays the most effort and sportsmanship or is considered the most aggressive and “attacking” rider.
The 2011 Tour de France was the 98th edition of the race. It started Running from Saturday July 2nd at the Passage du Gois and ended on the Champs-Élysées in Paris to Sunday July 24th 2011, covered a total distance of 3,430.5 kilometres. The route entered Italy for part of two stages, including an overnight stop.