Grand Tour (cycling)

In road bicycle racing, a Grand Tour is one of the three major European professional cycling stage races: Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España. Collectively they are termed the Grand Tours, and all three races are similar in format, being three-week races with daily stages. They have a special status in the UCI regulations: more points for the UCI World Tour are distributed in Grand Tours than in other races,[1] and they are the only stage races allowed to last longer than 14 days.[2]

The seven cyclists who have won all three tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, and Vuelta a España). Of them, only Contador and Hinault have won each grand tour at least twice, and only Merckx, Hinault and Froome have won all three tours consecutively.

All three races have a substantial history, with the Tour de France first held in 1903, Giro d'Italia first held in 1909 and the Vuelta a España first held in 1935. The Giro is generally run in May, the Tour in July, and the Vuelta in late August and September. The Vuelta was originally held in the spring, usually late April, with a few editions held in June in the 1940s. In 1995, however, the race moved to September to avoid direct competition with the Giro d'Italia.

The Tour de France is the oldest and most prestigious in terms of points accrued to racers of all three,[1] and is the most widely attended annual sporting event in the world.[3] The Tour, the Giro and the Road World Cycling Championship make up the Triple Crown of Cycling.

The three Grand Tours are men's events, and as of 2022, no three week races currently exist on the women's road cycling circuit. The Giro Donne and the Tour de France Femmes are sometimes considered to be equivalent races for women - taking place over shorter, smaller routes around a week in length. The Giro Donne was first held in 1988, and various women's Tour de France events have taken place since 1984 - with the Tour de France Femmes having its first edition in 2022.

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