The Tour de France is the cycling world’s most famous and grueling race, with 21 days of riding across more than 3,500 kilometers of roadway.  The Tour de France wasn’t always the same distance in 1904 it was only 2,420 km but the longest race happened in 1926 at more than 5,700 km.  The three week race does include a couple of rest days for rider, or they are transported from the finish line in one village to the next town to resume the race.  During the Tour de France the country has both clockwise and counter clockwise routes through the country.

How Judging is Done at the Race

If you are a cyclist then you are judged on your overall time throughout the whole race, this is known as the general classification.  You can actually win the race without ever winning a stage.  Throughout the race there are other competitions and the winner wears a distinctive jersey.  For instance the race leader is usually wearing the yellow cycling jersey.  As a cyclist you can get deduction in your overall time for finishing first in a daily stage or reaching a checkpoint first.

Physically Demanding

Riders cycle almost 170 kilometers every day for three weeks, the Tour de France is one of the most physically demanding athletic contests in the world.  Racers work together in teams  of 20-22 members and the team members all help each other and they are followed by team managers and bicycle mechanics in cars.  Participants in the race normally start off riding together each day and the winner is in front of the pack and the first to cross that day’s finish line.  There are days where competitors race against each other or other teams.

Most of the race will take part in mainland France but it will occasionally cross into neighboring countries.  The race ends in Paris as the final leg of the Tour de France.  The terrain throughout the race can cover everything from straight flat roads to some pretty steep climbs.  The winner is the one who has learned how to master the hill portion of the race and can do well in the timed trial portion of the race.  Here is a look at some of the climbs riders must face in the Tour de France.

Prize Money

There is more than 2 million Euros that are awarded at the end of the race, with the winner taking the lion’s share of 500,000 Euros.  When you compare that to other professional sports, professional cyclists are vastly underpaid.

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