10 interesting stats about the Tour de France
In 10 days time, stage one of the world’s biggest sporting event finishes within a couple of miles of our office. To give an insight into what it makes the event so special we’ve compiled ten interesting facts.
1) The 2014 tour is the 101st edition of the race. The first edition of the race was held in 1903 as a publicity stunt to sell newspapers. 111 years on, it’s the world’s biggest sporting event. The newspaper in question, L’Auto was originally printed on yellow paper, hence the colour of the leader’s jersey.
2) The Tour was the first ever cycling stage race, the first edition, held in 1903 was 6 stages, covering 2428km (1509 miles). The winners time of 94 hours, 33 minutes 14 seconds gave an average speed of 25.678kmh (15.956 mph). Other than between 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 the tour has been held every year.
3) The 2013 edition of the race was run over 21 stages, covering a distance of 3404km (2115 miles) and was won by Chris Froome in 83 hours 56 minutes and 40 seconds giving an average speed of 40.5 kmh (25.2 mph).
4) The youngest ever winner of the Tour was Henri Cornet who won the 1904 edition of the race at just 19 years old, the oldest post war winner was Australian Cadel Evans, winner of the 2011 tour at the age of 34. The oldest rider competing in the 2014 Tour is German Jens Voigt who’s riding his 16th and final tour at the age of 42.
5) The slimmest, and one of the most dramatic winning margins happened in 1989 when Greg LeMond beat Lauren Fignon by 8 seconds over a distance of 3285.3km (2041 miles). LeMond started the final day 50 seconds behind Fignon at the start of the final stage (a 25km time trial).
6) The last french winner was Bernard Hinault in 1985.
7) The rider to have finished the most tours is Joop Zoetemelk who finished every one of the 16 races he rode between 1970 and 1986 covering a collective distance of 63547km (39618 miles), roughly 1.6 times the circumference of earth.
8) Riders can reach speeds in excess of 65mph on while descending the mountain roads. However ultimate respect must go to the motorcycle television cameramen who sit on the pillion seat facing the wrong way filming the riders behind them!
9) On the hardest days riders will use up to 9,000 calories and drink around 10 litres of fluid completing a stage. The riders only get 2 rest days during the event.
10) 22 teams from 13 countries each with nine riders will start the tour. Most riders will cover around 25,000 miles per year in racing and training.