Tour de France

The Tour de France (French pronunciation: [tuʁ də fʁɑ̃s]) is an annual men's multiple-stage bicycle race primarily held in France,[1] while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours (the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España), it consists of 21 stages, each a day long, over the course of 23 days, coinciding with the Bastille Day holiday. It is the oldest of the Grand Tours and generally considered the most prestigious.

Tour de France
2022 Tour de France
Race details
RegionFrance and other countries
Local name(s)Tour de France (in French)
Nickname(s)La Grande Boucle, Le Tour, TdF
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeStage race (Grand Tour)
OrganiserAmaury Sport Organisation
Race directorChristian Prudhomme
First edition1 July 1903; 119 years ago (1903-07-01)
Editions109 (as of 2022)
First winner Maurice Garin (FRA)
Most wins Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
 Eddy Merckx (BEL)
 Bernard Hinault (FRA)
 Miguel Induráin (ESP)
5 wins each
Most recent Jonas Vingegaard (DEN)

The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L'Auto[2] and is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation.[3] The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars.[4] As the Tour gained prominence and popularity, the race was lengthened and its reach began to extend around the globe. Participation expanded from a primarily French field as more riders from all over the world began to participate in the race each year. The Tour is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI WorldTeams, with the exception of the teams that the organizers invite.[5][6] It has become "the world's biggest annual sporting event."[7]

A similar race for women was held under different names between 1984 and 2009. Following criticism by campaigners and the professional women's peloton, a one/two day race (La Course by Le Tour de France) was held between 2014 and 2021, and Tour de France Femmes staged its first edition in 2022.[8]

Traditionally, the bulk of the race is held in the month of July; the only exception to this in recent decades was the 2020 race, whose start was postponed to 29 August on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same, including the appearance of time trials,[1] a passage through the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, and a finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.[9][10] The modern editions of the Tour de France consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period and cover around 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi).[11] The race alternates between clockwise and counterclockwise circuits of France.[12]

There are usually between 20 and 22 teams, with eight riders in each. All of the stages are timed to the finish; the riders' times are compounded with their previous stage times.[1] The rider with the lowest cumulative finishing times is the leader of the race and wears the yellow jersey.[1][13] While the general classification garners the most attention, there are other contests held within the Tour: the points classification for the sprinters, the mountains classification for the climbers, young rider classification for riders under the age of 26, and the team classification, based on the first three finishers from each team on each stage.[1] Achieving a stage win also provides prestige, often accomplished by a team's sprint specialist or a rider taking part in a breakaway.

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