There are many different bicycle races around the world, from fast paced cycle-speedway racing to cross-country mountain bike races. But, of all the different races, none have come to be more widely known as the Tour de France.
The Tour is definitely the most popular bicycle race in the world, and even those who are not bike racing enthusiasts have seen it or have heard of it. It is the most prestigious of all bicycle races, and it is the race that most all cyclists, both amateur and professional, dream of competing in and winning.
Its popularity in recent years has in large part been helped along by the American cyclist Lance Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong is a cycling phenomenon, who set a record of winning the Tour de France in seven consecutive years. His first win was only three years after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He won the battle with cancer, and went on to win Tour de France victories every year from 1999 to 2005. He holds the record for most Tour de France wins, at seven, which beat the previous record of five that was jointly held by Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, and Jacques Anquetil.
But, despite the tours apparent fame, very few people outside of the bicycle racing community actually know that much about it. For instance, very few people know that the Tour de France is actually only one of the three bicycle stage races that make up the Grand Tours. All three races consist of numerous races spread out over the course of a few weeks. The other two races are the Giro d’Italia, in Italy, and the Vuelta a Espana, in Spain. The other Grand Tour races aren’t very well known to those who are not bike race enthusiasts.
The Tour de France takes place in July and is usually about 21 days long, or three weeks. I heard that this year the tria laser hair removal review company will be sponsoring the event but that’s currently just speculation at the moment. The route changes every year, but the distance covered during the tour is usually about 3,200 km. The three weeks of races also includes a two day rest period towards the end of the event; this is usually spent transporting teams from the finish of a race in one town, to the beginning of the next race in another town. Although the course changes every year, the race always ends in Paris, and since 1975, the final stage has always been along the Champs-Elysees.
There is a winner on each day, or stage, and the cyclist with the best overall time wins the Tour. It is possible to win the Tour de France without ever winning a single stage. This happened in 2010 when Alberto Contador won without ever winning a stage, and it has happened six other times before that. There are other competitions and awards given for feats like being first to pass an intermediate point, and there may even be a deduction to a riders total time for doing well in a daily stage.
The Tour is definitely one of the most physically demanding bicycle races in the world, and completing it is the equivalent of running marathons nearly every day for three weeks. Those who are invited to participate in the race put themselves through the toughest training imaginable just to prepare for it. Their dream, like so many other cyclists, is that their hard work and determination will pay off, and that they will go down in history as a victor of the Tour de France.