Cyclists everywhere enjoy a good race. Whether you are participating in the competition or watching it, you can feel the energy, adrenaline, and excitement involved. If you are the type that prefers to watch your pro races, for inspiration or appreciation, then keep track of one of the greatest races of all time. That’s right, we’re talking about the Tour de France, world class cycling race of the highest merit. Read on if you have questions like how long is the Tour de France, when does the race start, when is the next race, and more to keep yourself updated.
There are plenty of cycling races that you can choose from to watch in person or televised. Why watch the Tour de France? This article explains it all.
What is this Race – Tour de France
You don’t need to be an expert to watch the Tour de France, it’s an event that anyone can enjoy. It is the most viewed sporting event worldwide. Every year, the Tour de France attracts around 12 million live spectators, that’s more than the Olympics or World Cup.
It’s a part of the three grand tours with the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. It takes place every year usually in the summer and consists of multiple stages of routes frequently passing through different countries in Europe. Probably the most popular race in the world, it is given more publicity and coverage than its Italian and Spanish counterparts. Cycle enthusiasts consider this the most important and prestigious race that pro cycling can offer.
The Tour de France was started by French newspaper L’ Auto, to boost its sales and beat its competitor L’ Velo. Henri Desgrange, editor of the L’ Auto announced the first Tour in 1903 and its publicity and fame grew to be far greater than anyone could have imagined.
This race requires super endurance, character, and spirit. It is extremely tough to complete, and athletes train for years to get to the stage of being ready. Cycling in the Tour de France is a feat above all others, and to be able to compete in this race makes for one tough individual.
The Tour de France in 2017
This year’s race was the 104th version of the Tour de France and passed through three nearby European countries- Belgium, Germany, and Luxemburg. The prize money for this year’s race is 500,000 Euros, and total pool handed out to all category winners is 2,280,950 Euros.
How to watch the race? You should be able to view it on television on any major sports channel. If you are really devoted, book tickets to watch the start of the race in Düsseldorf, Germany or at the other stages of the race, listed later on in this article.
How long is the Tour de France?
The 2017 Tour de France covered 3,540 kilometers totally, and 14 kilometers for the individual time trial. The race started on July 1st and ended more than three weeks later on July 23rd.
How Many Stages?
The tour at present usually had twenty-one stages, one per day. The cyclists for most stages start slow together for the first kilometer, called départ fictif, and the actual racing starts at the wave of a white flag further ahead, called départ réel.
The 104th Tour de France will contain twenty-one stages with two rest days. The terrain of the race comprises of 9 flat stages, 5 mountain stages, 5 hilly stages, 2 individual time trials, and 2 rest days.
There will be a total of 23 mountain ascents and altitude finishes. The following are the number of mountain range climbs – 1 the Vosges, 6 in the Jura, 6 in the Alps, 2 in the Massif central, and 8 in the famous Pyrénées.
A day wise breakup of the Stages and their locations is below.
Stage 1- Individual time trial (Saturday, July 1st)
Düsseldorf, 14 km
Stage 2 (Sunday, July 2nd)
Düsseldorf – Liège, 203.5 km
Stage 3 (Monday, July 3rd)
Verviers – Longwy, 212.5 km
Stage 4 (Tuesday, July 4th)
Mondorf-les-Bains – Vittel 207.5 km
Stage 5 (Wednesday, July 5th)
Vittel – La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.5 km
Stage 6 (Thursday, July 6th)
Vesoul – Troyes, 216 km
Stage 7 (Friday, July 7th)
Troyes – Nuits-Saint-Georges, 213.5 km
Stage 8 (Saturday, July 8th)
Dole – Station des Rousses, 187.5 km
Stage 9 (Sunday, July 9th)
Nantua – Chambéry, 181.5 km
Rest Day (Monday, July 10th)
Stage 10 (Tuesday, July 11th)
Périgueux – Bergerac, 178 km
Stage 11 (Wednesday, July 12th)
Eymet – Pau, 203.5 km
Stage 12 (Thursday, July 13th)
Pau – Peyragudes, 214.5 km
Stage 13 (Friday, July 14th)
Saint-Girons – Foix, 100 km
Stage 14 (Saturday, July 15th)
Blagnac – Rodez, 181.5 km
Stage 15 (Sunday, July 16th)
Laissac-Sévérac l’Église – Le Puy-en-Velay, 189.5 km
Rest Day (Monday, July 17th)
Stage 16 (Tuesday, July 18th)
Le Puy-en-Velay – Romans-sur-Isère, 165 km
Stage 17 (Wednesday, July 19th)
La Mure – Serre-Chevalier, 183 km
Stage 18 (Thursday, July 20th)
Briançon – Izoard, 179.5 km
Stage 19 (Friday, July 21st)
Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 222.5 km
Stage 20- Individual time trial (Saturday, July 22nd)
Marseille, 22.5 km
Stage 21 (Sunday, July 23rd)
Montgeron – Paris Champs-Élysées, 103 km
What Teams Ride in the Tour de France?
Like all Grand Tour or World cycling races, the top 18 teams in the world usually make up the participants of this race. They are invited to join and show up ready to compete for the title.
Last year’s Tour de France winner was Chris Froome from Team Sky. This years team competitors include:
- Ag2r-La Mondiale
- BMC Racing
- Dimension Data
- Lotto NL-Jumbo
- Team Sky
- The UAE Team Emirates
- Quick-Step Floors
Who are the Favorites for the Race?
The Pre-race favorites for this year’s race were Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Dan Martin, Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador, Jakob Fuglsang, Romain Bardet, Fabio Aru, Esteban Chaves, and Alejandro Valverde.
From a collective 198 cyclists from 22 respective teams this year, who had entered the 21 stage full race, Team Sky placed first with Chris Froome making his fourth Grand Tour victory. The second place and third place were Rigoberto Urán from Team Cannondale–Drapac and Romain Bardet from Team AG2R La Mondiale.
There you have it, information on the race and updates on the Tour de France 2017. We hope that it motivates you to pedal faster, harder, and to the best of your ability! We hope this article cleared up your queries like how long is the Tour de France and more.
Let us know your thoughts on the Grand Tour and other cycling races in the comments section below.
Want to know how athletes endure all those kilometres? Read the article Cycling Diet of Pro Cyclists to know more!