One race rules them all. The Tour De France has captured the hearts of sport fanatics worldwide. Athletes have pushed themselves to their absolute limits by testing their mental strength, draining their stamina and exhausting their respiratory organs, all so they can be crowned king of the cycling world. Controversial, inspirational and downright stupid are just some of the words used to describe the Grand Tour.
With the 104th Tour De France being around the corner, we thought we would look further into the most revered cycling race in the world. The toughest endurance race originally began in 1903 to boost the sales of a newspaper and the Tour became the apex of the ultimate professional cycling career. Athletes cover 3,529 kilometres over 21 days, commencing in Dusseldorf and ending in the French suburb where it all began, Montgeron, which lies south-east of Paris.
The race is split up into 21 different stages, each pushing competitors to a unique limit. The Tour consists of:
- 9 flat stages
- 5 hilly stages
- 5 mountain stages including altitude finishes
- 2 individual time trial stages
The Tour will include a total of 23 mountain climbs that are distributed as so:
- 1 in the Vosges
- 6 in the Jura
- 8 in the Pyrenees
- 2 in the Massif Central
- 6 in the Alps
- The Yellow is the illustrious jersey won by the leader of the general time classification.
- The Green is won by the leader of the general points classification.
- The Red Polka-Dot jersey is won by the best climber.
- The White Jersey is won by the best young rider who is 25 or under.
Best Tour Result: 1st (2013, 2015, 2016)
Last Year: 1st
Best Tour Result: 5th (2016)
Last Year: 5th
Best Tour Result: 2nd (2013,2015)
Last Year: 3rd
Best Tour Result: 1st (2007,2009)
Last Year: N/A
Best Tour Result: 2nd
Last year: 2nd
Unfortunately, the Tour De France doesn’t pay as well as Wimbledon or the PGA Tour. For instance, when Andy Murray won at Wimbledon, he pocketed close to 2 million Euros for 15 hours and 52 minutes of play. This year’s tour winner will take close to 500,000 Euros for cycling 3,535 kilometres. On top of that, a tour tradition decrees the winner hand over his winnings to his teammates for all their hard work. Whilst the winner does not go home financially wealthy, he will possess one of the most sought after sports jackets in the world and will be etched into world history as an ultimate athlete.
The winner of the green jersey will take home 25,000 Euros, which is the same for the king of the mountain in the red polka dot jersey. The best young rider under 25 years of age will be awarded 20,000 Euros.
Where To Watch
For the first time, SBS will cover every stage live on all their digital platforms. Eurosport will similarly broadcast the race every day, following all stages.
The 2017 Tour De France is set to be extremely close, Chris Froome the Brit from team Sky, returns to defend the yellow jersey. And has some serious competition in the likes Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana who finished in 3rd place last year, Alberto Contador and the fan favourite Romain Bardet who finished second in his home country last year. With such a rich history of competitive greatness and an ever growing popularity of cycling worldwide, no doubt the 2017 edition of the Tour De France will be as celebrated amongst amateur cyclists as its ever been.