The Tour de France is the world’s best-known cycling race A three-week long road race, it is broken into stages. The time each rider takes to complete each stage is recorded and accumulated. The winner is the rider with the least accumulated time after the final day. It is possible to win the overall race without winning any individual daily stages. Although the number of stages has varied, the modern Tour consists of about 20 stages and a total length of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometres.
Format of the race
As with most cycling races, competitors enter as part of a team. The race usually consists of 20 to 22 teams with nine riders each. Traditionally, entry in the Tour de France is extended to teams by invitation only, with invitations being granted only to the best of the world’s professional teams. Each team, known by the name of its primary sponsor, wears distinctive jerseys and assists one another. However, most scoring is individual, and no substitution is permitted. Most stages take place in France though it is common to have stages in nearby countries, such as Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Great Britain.
The Tour was founded as a publicity event for the newspaper L’Auto. L’Auto announced the race on January 19, 1903. The original plan was for an epic five week tour from May 31 to 5 July; however, this proved too daunting, with only fifteen entrants confirmed, so they cut the length to 19 days, changed the date to run from July 1st to the 19th, and offered a daily living allowance which attracted 60 entrants. The event attracted huge public interest.