The Tour de France is the most important and famous race in the sport of cycling. Described as a “multiple stage bicycle race,” the Tour de France is, as its name suggests, primarily held in France (although riders can occasionally cross into other territories). The Tour de France was first organized in 1903 as a means of increasing sales of a magazine called “L’Auto.” Amazingly, a variation of that publication is still in print today and the Tour de France is as popular as ever. At present, the Tour de France is run by the Amaury Sport Organization. The event is annual and takes place every July. The 2014 Tour de France was just completed on Sunday July 27, 2014.
The Tour de France was only stopped during the World Wars but, in peace times, it has been run consecutively. Over the years its popularity grew and the race got longer and longer. Radio, television and—most recently—the Internet have skyrocketed the event (and the sport of cycling) into even more fame and now other big races (like the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain) are also gaining ground. In fact, many Tour de France cyclists are professional athletes who partake in several races each year!
There are usually between 20 and 22 teams taking part in the event with about 150 riders in total (the number can go as high as 180 but it is unlikely to exceed 200). Although there can only be one overall winner of the Tour de France, there are 21 different stages and different riders can win each stage. Most riders are eager to convey that cycling is very much a team sport and teams will actually work together to try and push their strongest rider through to the win at the end of each stage.
Anyone who is interested in cycling should certainly look at the Tour de France. Even those who are uninterested in cycling will appreciate the beauty of the landscapes which the riders travel though since much of the French countryside includes quaint towns and lovely old castles. And, of course, Paris is always a lovely city to see! For more information about the Tour de France see the official website: