The Tour De France is the world’s most prestigious bicycle race. It is mainly held in France, with some parts in other countries like Belgium, Spain, Germany and Italy. It is held in July and lasts for three weeks. It is the most difficult bicycle race and covers a total of about 2200 miles mainly along the perimeter of France and bordering the rest of the countries. The longest distance covered in the history the Tour de France was held in 1926, spanning almost 3570 miles.
The history of this bicycle race dates back to the early 1900s when it was established by its founder Henri Desgrange. Since then this race has been conducted almost every year, with up to twenty professional teams participating with nine members each. The cyclists participate in different stages of the race, for 21 days, and the one with the lowest aggregate at the end of the race is declared the winner. Due to doping scandals surrounding the Tour De France during the 1960s, a limit was set for the daily and overall distances and two rest days introduced to provide some relief to the cyclists.
The twenty one daily stages or legs range from 10.3 to 157 miles each. The terrains include flat areas, mountainous regions, and individual and team stages. The Tour de France is sometimes called the marathon of all bicycle races.
Usually riders start together, just like other races, with the winner being the one who crosses the finish line first. Other days, individuals and teams competing are timed and the participants to finish in the least amount of time win. It is generally seen that participants who do well in the mountain regions end up as the winner.
Cyclists who take part in the Tour de France train very hard to able to endure this race. Their daily exercise regime includes leg exercises, and those that strengthen their back and abdominals along with aerobics. Eating well and healthy is also part of their daily training.
Prizes and bonuses are awarded after the end of each stage, and the final winner at the end being awarded the maximum amount. The winner at the end of each day gets to wear a yellow jersey. In 2009, the winner got awarded €450,000 and the winner after every stage won €8000 each. Many networks cover this race from start to finish, providing live coverage for the biggest stages. In Europe this race has a huge fan following with people camping along the route to get a better view of the cyclists.