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7 Exciting Facts About the Tour de France, and Where to Stream the Race
Lasting nearly three weeks and involving several hundred competitors, the Tour de France is one of the biggest sporting events across the globe — and in the world of cycling, it’s definitely the biggest. This much-anticipated annual race faced some setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the world hasn’t returned to normal yet, devoted cycling fans (and those of us who simply love edge-of-our-seats competition) are eager for the big return slated for this summer.
In honor of the Tour de France’s grand 2021 re-entry to the sporting universe on Saturday, June 26, we’re taking a look at some fun facts that’ll get your anticipation building even more. Plus, you’ll discover where and how you can watch every minute of the race from the comfort of home — no cleats or helmet necessary.
Thousands of People Are Involved
You might already know that a bevy of bicyclists participate in the race — 198 riders spread across 22 different teams compete each year. But the number of people involved in ensuring the race goes off without a hitch is much higher than the number of athletes participating. Organizers take logistics to the next level with team staff members, members of the race jury, thousands of security professionals and members of the media. If you include the spectators in that count, the numbers — pre-pandemic, at least — can run into the millions . From city to city along the race route, hundreds upon hundreds of people follow the action throughout the course of the event. And organizers and support staff keep things running smoothly to the finish line.
The Race Has a Surprising Connection to a Newspaper
The first Tour de France wasn’t held because a bunch of bicycling fans got together and thought it’d be a great idea to start a competition — at least not totally. It was actually a promotional event hosted with the intention of bringing more publicity to L’Auto , a French newspaper that focused on reporting details about different sporting events. Although L’Auto has since closed down, the parent company of its replacement, L’Equipe , continues to organize the Tour de France today.
It’s Not Just Big, but Also Long
And it’s long in multiple ways, too. The race itself takes place over the course of nearly a month, with 21 different day-long segments making up the bulk of the competition. The length of the course is also extensive, however; it’s typically over 2,000 miles long and can pass through multiple neighboring countries. It wasn’t even always this short, either — in 1926, the course encompassed a winding 3,570 miles and took a full month for riders to finish.
Different Jerseys Mean Different Things
As you watch the race, you’ll notice cyclists wearing the bright kits and bibs that represent their teams — but you’ll also spot some even more unique colors and designs among the pack. One of these is a yellow jersey, called the “maillot jaune,” that’s bestowed upon the racer who had the lowest cumulative ride time for the day. Other special jerseys include the green “maillot vert,” which is awarded to the rider with the most points, and the “maillot a pois” — a red and white polka-dotted jersey given to the cyclist who earns the most points during the areas of the course that have steep inclines to climb. The rider who wears the maillot a pois is affectionately known as “the king of the mountain.”
There Was Almost Only One Tour de France
The first Tour de France took place in 1903 – and that was almost the one and only iteration of the race. That’s because newspaper editor Henri Desgrange, who helped organize the initial tour, was so aghast at the conduct not only of the fans but also of the competitors in the 1903 race that he wanted to discontinue it despite its clear appeal. Boisterous crowds turned violent, with spectators assaulting racers as they passed along the course. The riders themselves found numerous ways to cheat, disqualifying themselves in the process. But the Tour de France was so lauded — and it increased circulation of L’Auto so extensively — that the organizers had no choice but to continue hosting the event.
The Race Has Its Own Language
Bonking, anyone? As you’re watching the Tour de France, you might hear commentators use some curious turns of phrase — and many of them will be unique to the race itself. Boost your bicycling know-how by learning what these terms mean before catching one of the race segments:
- Bonking: Cyclists don’t want to “bonk” during this race; it means they’ve run out of energy and are too wiped to continue.
- Peloton: No, it’s not the fancy exercise bike you bought during the pandemic. In Tour de France context, a peloton is the main group of riders where most of the participants are cycling together.
- Sag Wagon: If someone bonks, they may need the assistance of the sag wagon. This is a car that follows the pack of cyclists and picks up those who become too fatigued or injured to keep riding.
- Musket Bag: While it may sound like something you’d find at a Civil War battleground, a musket bag is sort of like a bagged lunch — but it’s packed with energy gels, water, sandwiches and other fuel for the cyclists. It’s also called a “musette” or, sometimes, a “bonk bag.”
- Lanterne Rouge: In French, this term means “red light,” and it refers to the cyclist who’s in the very last place in the race. Being in this position gets riders ample attention, and those who know they won’t win sometimes compete for this distinction instead.
You Can Watch the Action at Home — Here’s How
Now that the race has returned to regularly scheduled programming in 2021 following its 2020 pandemic postponement, you might be eager to catch the three-week racing saga unfold from the comfort of home. Fortunately, you have the convenient option to stream the tour live on both NBC Sports and NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
The race coverage on Peacock is only available through Peacock Premium, a paid tier of the service that costs $4.99 — a worthwhile investment if you’re a serious cycling fan who can’t wait to watch this Grand Tour. NBC Sports is accessible if you’re already paying for regular cable, but without that subscription you won’t be able to stream the program online or watch it on TV unless you spring for Peacock.
Keep in mind that, if you’re not already a Peacock subscriber, you’ll receive a free weeklong trial to better help you determine if the service is right for you. You can use that to catch up on the race and decide if you want to make the month-long (or longer) investment.
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Home > Events > Cycling > Tour de France > Winners > List
Tour de France Winners List
The most successful rider in the Tour de France was Lance Armstrong , who finished first seven times before his wins were removed from the record books after being found guilty of doping by the USADA in 2012. No rider has been named to replace him for those years.
> see also more information about how they determine the winners of the Tour
General Classification Winners
- 1904: The original winner was Maurice Garin, however he was found to have caught a train for part of the race and was disqualified.
- 1996: Bjarne Riis has admitted to the use of doping during the 1996 Tour. The Tour de France organizers have stated they no longer consider him to be the winner, although Union Cycliste Internationale has so far refused to change the official status due to the amount of time passed since his win. Jan Ullrich was placed second.
- 1999-2005: these races were originally won by Lance armstrong, but in 2012 his wins in the tour de france were removed due to doping violations.
- 2006: Floyd Landis was the initial winner but subsequently rubbed out due to a failed drug test.
- 2010: Alberto Contador was the initial winner of the 2010 event, but after a prolonged drug investigation he was stripped of his win in 2012.
- Read how they determine the winners of the Tour
- Tour de France home page.
- Anthropometry of the Tour de France Winners
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- Overview 2024
- Total editions: 111
- Country: France
- First edition: 1903
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- 1903-2024 Tour de France
Position on calendar
- 1 ARMSTRONG Lance 7 0
- 2 INDURAIN Miguel 5
- 3 HINAULT Bernard 5
- 4 MERCKX Eddy 5
- 5 ANQUETIL Jacques 5
- 6 FROOME Chris 4
- 7 LEMOND Greg 3
- 8 BOBET Louison 3
- 9 THYS Philippe 3
- 10 VINGEGAARD Jonas 2
- 1 CAVENDISH Mark 34
- 2 MERCKX Eddy 34
- 3 HINAULT Bernard 28
- 4 LEDUCQ André 25
- 5 ARMSTRONG Lance 22 2
- 6 DARRIGADE André 22
- 7 FRANTZ Nicolas 20
- 8 FABER François 19
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Tour de France 2024
Latest news from the race.
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2024 tour de france information.
The 111th edition of the Tour de France starts in Florence, Italy, on Saturday, June 29 and ends three weeks later in Nice on Sunday, July 21. It is the first time the Tour starts in Italy and the first time it finishes in Nice to avoid the preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics Games, which begin just a week later.
The route of the world's biggest race covers a total of 3,492km with some 52,320 metres of overall elevation, passing through four nations – Italy, San Marino, France, and Monaco. It features two individual time trials for a total of 59km, four mountain-top finishes, a series of gravel sections on stage 9, and a final hilly time trial to Nice. The official route was unveiled on October 25 in a special ceremony in Paris.
Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) won his second GC title last year and will be back to defend his title against top rival Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who finished second overall. Vingegaard is likely to face a huge challenge from not just Pogačar, but also Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) and former teammate turned rival Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Join Cyclingnews' coverage of the 2024 Tour de France with live coverage, race reports, results, photo galleries, news and race analysis.
- Tour de France 2024 route
The 2024 Tour de France includes 52,230 metres of vertical gain across 3,492km of climbs, sprints and time trialling from Italy into France, with fewer high climbs than in the past and shorter stages.
It is a balanced three weeks of racing that includes eight flat stages, four mountain-top finishes and two individual time trials, the final test against the clock is a hilly time trial to Nice that could create suspense. The race has 25km of racing above 2,000 metres and 27 mountains classified as second, first, or HC.
Florence, Italy, will host the team presentation, and stage 1 will roll out from Piazzale Michelangelo to open the Grand Tour for the first time. The first two stages are just over 200km each and include climbing, with the third day in Italy a flatter affair at 225km from Piacenza to Turin.
Stage 4 heads into France and straight away to the Alps, with climbs across Sestriere, the Col de Montgenèvre and the Col du Galibier before a fast descent to Valloire. After two days with opportunities for breakaways and fast finishers, the first time trial comes on stage 7 at 25km. The first week ends with back-to-back stages ending in the champagne capital of Troyes to the southeast of Paris, including stage 9, which is a far tougher day due to the 14 sectors of gravel.
Week two of the 2024 Tour starts with a four-day ride south to the Pyrenees via the Massif Central and the rural France Profonde, with stages to Saint-Amand-Montrond, Le Lioran, Villeneuve-sur-Lot and then Pau. The Tour celebrates the Bastille Day holiday weekend in the Pyrenees with consecutive mountain finishes - stage 14 finishes in Pla d'Adet after climbing the Col du Tourmalet and the Hourquette d’Ancizan while stage 15 climbs the Portet d'Aspet and the Col d’Agnes for the finish up to Plateau de Beille.
Following the second rest day in Gruissan on the Mediterranean coast near the border with Spain on Monday, July 15, the final week leads into the Alps. The contenders should face a final shakeout once the race reaches stage 20, as the 2,802-metre high Cime de la Bonette and final ascent to Isola 2000 will be decisive. The final stage of the 2024 Tour is a 34km hilly time trial from Monaco to Nice.
Check out all the details of the 2024 Tour de France route .
There's no way to Jumbo-proof the Tour de France - 2024 route analysis
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Tour de france 2024 contenders.
Defending Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard will again have a strong Jumbo-Visma team to support his quest for a third title, but this time, former team leader Primož Roglič has turned to rival as he looks to give Bora-Hansgrohe top billing. Vingegaard will also face huge challenges from Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep).
In the flat stages, look for last year's green jersey victor Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) to contest for another title against Fabio Jakobsen , now with Team dsm-firmenich, and Caleb Ewan , now with Jayco-AlUIa. And fastman Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) is back for an 18th pro season to mix it up in the sprints, on the hunt for a record-breaking 35th Tour de France stage victory.
And there will be opportunities across the three weeks for breakaway riders to shine, including the likes of Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck).
Tour de France 2024 stages
- Tour de France past winners
- Stage 1 | Florence - Rimini 2024-06-29 205km
- Stage 2 | Cesenatico - Bologna 2024-06-30 200km
- Stage 3 | Piacenza - Turin 2024-07-01 225km
- Stage 4 | Pinerolo - Valloire 2024-07-02 138km
- Stage 5 | Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Saint-Vulbas Plaine de l'Ain 2024-07-03 177km
- Stage 6 | Mâcon - Dijon 2024-07-04 163km
- Stage 7 | Nuits-Saint-Georges - Gevrey-Chambertin (ITT) 2024-07-05 25km
- Stage 8 | Semur-en-Auxois - Colombey-les-Deux-Églises 2024-07-06 176km
- Stage 9 | Troyes - Troyes 2024-07-07 199km
- Rest Day 1 | Orléans 2024-07-08
- Stage 10 | Orléans - Saint-Amand-Montrond 2024-07-09 187km
- Stage 11 | Évaux-les-Bains - Le Lioran 2024-07-10 211km
- Stage 12 | Aurillac - Villeneuve-sur-Lot 2024-07-11 204km
- Stage 13 | Agen - Pau 2024-07-12 171km
- Stage 14 | Pau - Saint-Lary-Soulan (Pla d'Adet) 2024-07-13 152km
- Stage 15 | Loudenvielle - Plateau de Beille 2024-07-14 198km
- Rest Day 2 | Gruissan 2024-07-15
- Stage 16 | Gruissan - Nîmes 2024-07-16 187km
- Stage 17 | Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Superdévoluy 2024-07-17 178km
- Stage 18 | Gap - Barcelonnette 2024-07-18 179km
- Stage 19 | Embru - Isola 2000 2024-07-19 145km
- Stage 20 | Nice - Col de la Couillole 2024-07-20 133km
- Stage 21 | Monaco - Nice (ITT) 2024-07-21 34km
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Remco Evenepoel's likely path to the Tour de France starts in Volta ao Algarve
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Tadej Pogacar likely to opt against riding Giro d'Italia with Worlds bid in mind
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Remco Evenepoel drops biggest hint yet at 2024 Tour de France debut
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Merlier makes case for 2024 Tour de France selection alongside Remco Evenepoel
By Daniel Ostanek published 11 November 23
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Self-belief key to success for Mark Cavendish, says former teammate Adam Hansen
By Sophie Smith published 5 November 23
news Hansen reunited with Cavendish as late call-up for Saitama Criterium
Tadej Pogacar: 'Maybe it costs me' to combine Classics and Tour de France
By Daniel Ostanek published 2 November 23
News 'It's not ideal but it's what I like – to race different challenges throughout the year'
Juan Ayuso considers Tour de France debut in 2024
By Kirsten Frattini published 28 October 23
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Tour de France 2024: Will there be a TTT, gravel roads, legendary climbs in the Pyrenees and Alps?
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TOTAL: 3492 km
This will be the first Grand Départ in Italy and the 26th that’s taken place abroad First finale in Nice. Due to the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Paris, the race will not finish in the French capital for the first time.
Two time trials. 25 + 34 = 59km in total, the second of them taking place on the final Monaco>Nice stage. This will be the first time the race has seen a finale of this type for 35 years, the last occasion being the famous Fignon - LeMond duel in 1989.
Apennines (Italy), the Italian and French Alps, Massif Central and Pyrenees will be the mountain ranges on the 2024 Tour route.
The number of countries visited in 2024: Italy, San Marino, Monaco and France. Within France, the race will pass through 7 Regions and 30 departments.
The number of bonus points 8, 5 and 2 bonus seconds go to the first three classified riders, featuring at strategic points along the route (subject to approval by the International Cycling Union)these will have no effect on the points classification. Bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds will be awarded to the first three classified riders at road stage finishes.
Out of a total of 39, the locations or stage towns that are appearing on the Tour map for the first time . In order of appearance: Florence, Rimini, Cesenatico, Bologna, Piacenza, Saint-Vulbas, Gevrey-Chambertin, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, Évaux-les-Bains, Gruissan, Superdévoluy, Col de la Couillole.
The number of sectors on white roads during stage nine, amounting to 32km in total .
The number of stages: 8 flat, 4 hilly, 7 mountain (with 4 summit finishes at Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet, Plateau de Beille, Isola 2000, Col de la Couillole), 2 time trials and 2 rest days.
The number of riders who will line up at the start of the Tour, divided into 22 teams of 8 riders each.
The height of the summit of the Bonette pass in the Alps, the highest tarmac road in France, which will be the “roof” of the 2024 Tour.
The total vertical gain during the 2024 Tour de France.
A total of 2,3 million euros will be awarded to the teams and riders including € 500,000 to the final winner of the overall individual classification .
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