Tour de France

The tour de france is the most popular bike race in the world. It is held in July Of every year. In France. More than 200 competitors race for about 3200km in 25-30 days. This race was started back in 1903 by an ex-biker named Henri Desgranges. Who at the time was the owner of a struggling french newspaper. Called L’Auto’s. The reason he started it was because one of the competitors had sponsored a similar race and was doing very well. The prize would also be 2000 francs ($40. 00). Scince then it has run every year except for WWI and WWII. From year to year the track of the race changes.

It used to all be through France but now it goes through neighbouring countries aswell. The final stretch is raced along the Champs-Elysees. Tons of people gather there to see who will cross the finish line first. History: The first Tour de France was staged in 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. Stages would go through the night and finish next afternoon, with rest days before riders set off again. But this proved too daunting and the costs too great for most and only 15 entered.

Desgrange had never been wholly convinced and he came close to dropping the idea. Instead, he cut the length to 19 days, changed the dates to 1 to 19 July, and offered a daily allowance to those who averaged at least 20 km/h on all the stages. That was what a rider would have expected to earn each day had he worked in a factory. He also cut the entry fee from 20 to 10 francs and set the first prize at 12,000 francs and the prize for each day’s winner at 3,000 francs. The winner would thereby win six times what most workers earned in a year.

That attracted between 60 and 80 entrants – the higher number may have included serious inquiries and some who dropped out – among them not just professionals but amateurs, some unemployed, some simply adventurous. The first Tour de France started almost outside the Cafe Reveil-Matin at the junction of the Melun and Corbeil roads in the village of Montgeron. It was waved away by the starter, Georges Abran, at 3:16 p. m. on 1 July 1903. Among the competitors were the eventual winner, Maurice Garin. The race finished on the edge of Paris at Ville d’Avray. Garin dominated the race, winning the first and last two stages, at 25. 8 km/h. The last rider, Millocheau, finished 64h 47m 22s behind him. Early rules: Desgrange experimented with judging by elapsed time and then from 1906 to 1912 by points for placings each day. He allowed riders to have personal pacers on the last stage in 1903 and on the first and last stages in 1905. From 1936 there were as many as three stages in a single day. His dream was a race of individuals. He invited teams but until 1925 forbade their members to pace each other. He then went the other way and from 1927 to 1929 ran the Tour as a giant team time-trial, with teams starting separately with members pacing each other.

He demanded that riders mend their bicycles without help and that they use the same bicycle from start to end. Exchanging a damaged bicycle for another was allowed only in 1923. In 1903, Desgrange allowed riders who dropped out one day to continue the next for daily prizes but not the overall prize. In 1928, he allowed teams who had lost members to replace them halfway through the race. Above all, Desgrange conducted a campaign against the sponsors, bicycle factories, which he was sure were undermining the spirit of a Tour de France of individuals.

In 1930 he insisted that competitors ride plain yellow bicycles that he would provide, without a maker’s name. Classifications: A few riders from each team aim to win overall but there are three further competitions to draw riders of all specialties: points, mountains, and a classification for young riders with general classification aspirations. The oldest of the four classifications is the general classification. The leader of each aforementioned classifications wears a distinctive jersey. If a rider leads more than one classification that awards, he wears the jersey of the most prestigious classification.

The abandoned jersey is worn by the rider who is second in the competition. Prizes: Prize money has always been awarded. From 20,000 old francs the first year, prize money has increased each year, although from 1976 to 1987 the first prize was an apartment offered by a race sponsor. The first prize in 1988 was a car, a studio-apartment, a work of art and 500,000 francs in cash. Prizes only in cash returned in 1990. Prizes and bonuses are awarded for daily placings and final placings at the end of the race. In 2009, the winner received €450,000, while each of the 21 stage winners won €8,000 (€10,000 for the team time-trial stage).

The winners of the points classification and mountains classification each win €25,000, the young rider competition and the combativity prize €20,000, and €50,000 for the winner of the team classification (calculated by adding the cumulative times of the best three riders in each team). The start and finish of the Tour Most stages are in mainland France, although since the 1960s it has become common to visit nearby countries:Andorra, Belgium, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland have all hosted stages or part of a stage.

Austria, Qatar and Scotland have expressed an interest in hosting future starts. Stages can be flat, undulating or mountainous. Since 1975 the finish has been on the Champs-Elysees in Paris; from 1903 to 1967 the race finished at the Parc des Princes stadium in western Paris and from 1968 to 1974 at the Piste Municipale south of the capital. Yorkshire has been announced as the host for the first two stages of the Tour de France 2014.


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