5 Things You Didn't Know RE Le Tour

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....DID YOU KNOW….

(we bet you didn’t)

1 – Is it true that the riders used to make booze-fuelled pit-stops, and smoke during the race?

Yup.  You better believe it.  They would stop and drink with locals in an attempt to use the alcohol to dull the pain. Cigarettes were even believed to OPEN UP THE LUNGS before big hill climbs.  Hmmm… if only someone had told them…

2 – The TDF is watched by more people than the Super Bowl, the Olympics (the summer ones) AND the FIFA World Cup!

True.  Although this is calculated based on days on air... which is a lot.

3 – How much money does the winner receive?

Allegedly, the podium winner in Paris wins circa $697,000AUD, which he then splits with his team of nine.  There are other opportunities to win money throughout the race; think stages, sprints, overall classification etc.  BUT, we think it's fair to say, if you're going to encourage your child to play sport for da money - cycling isn't it.  

4 –Cheating – they did WHAT?

We all know about Lance Armstrong being stripped of 7 tour podium finishes, but did you know about the very first winner, of the very first race?  His name was Maurice Garin, and he won the inaugural race in 1903.  He won it again in 1904, but was stripped of his title when he a bunch of other riders (8 of them) were found guilty of cheating and were disqualified as a result. 

The story goes, Maurice and the other blokes decided to take the TRAIN through the alps instead of, you know, cycling them.  Because those hills are steep. 

Looks like they set a devilish precedent.

5 – How long is the Tour?  I heard it changes every year?

The route of the course, and the total distance of le Tour De France changes every year, however the 20 – 22 competing teams of 9 riders from around the world can expect to cycle over 2000 miles (3,500 kilometres), up and down many hills and on routes that alternate between clockwise and counter clockwise circuits of France. In the original 1903 tour, the length was 2,428 kilometres.  In 2018 it is 3,510kms!