2,000 Miles: Tour De France Postponed for Third Time

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Tour de France was scheduled for June 27-July 19; however, like so many other sporting events, one of the biggest cycling events has been postponed. According to https://www.letour.fr, the race will begin August 29 and end September 20 instead.

According to Britannica.com, the first Tour de France was in 1903 and was started by Henri Desgrange. Information on history.com states that the first race was 1,500 miles long. There were six stages in the first race and no mountain climbs or teams. During the first night of the race, 23 cyclers left. Maurice Garin was one of the few to make it through the night and then continued on to win the race.

Today, 20 teams consisting of nine riders compete in this over 2,000-mile journey through France according to Britannica.com. The official Tour de France website says that the cyclists will face a total of 21 stages. These stages consist of nine flat stages, three hill stages, eight mountain stages and one individual time trial stage with two rest days.

Each night cyclists are awarded jerseys based on their achievements throughout the day. Brittanica.com states that the person with the lowest time receives a yellow jersey, the competitor with the most points receives a green jersey, the rider dubbed “king of the mountain” who earns the most points in the mountain stage receives a polka-dotted jersey and the cyclist 25 years or younger with the lowest time earns a white jersey. The yellow jersey was introduced to the race in 1919.

The cyclists use three different types of bikes for the stages of the race. The competitors are allowed a light bike for the mountain stage, one designed for speed in the time trial and a standard bike for the road stage.

Though each team consists of nine riders, only one is crowned the winner. Each team has a lead rider. Teammates assist the lead rider by blocking opposing riders or allowing the lead rider to draft behind them.

In the 117 years of the Tour de France, it has only been canceled twice for the first and second World Wars.

America’s Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times until he was stripped of his titles in connection with the use of illegal drugs to help him win the race. Three others have been stripped of their winning titles for drug use as well.

Four cyclists hold the record for most wins in the Tour de France: Jacques Anquetil of France, Eddy Merckx of Belgium, Bernard Hinault of France and Miguel Indurain of Spain each have five wins. Anquetil won in 1957 and 1961-1964; Merckx in 1924 and 1969-1972; Hindault in 1978-1979, 1981-1982 and 1985; and Indurain won in 1991-1995.

Two United States teams, EF Pro Cycling and Trek-Segafredo, are set to compete in the 2020 race. The Tour de France race will begin in Nice and end in Paris.