Plan your trip to France and see the Tour De France for your own eyes. At TourFrance.com you can book flights, hotels and car rental and plan your journey with our free tourist guide. Find out all you need to know about this important bicycle race and travel to it with is and comfort.
Tour de France is the most famous, important and prestigious bicycle race in the world. It takes place every year and riders cover around 3,500 kilometers (equivalent of 2,200 miles) of French mountains, countryside and cities. It usually lasts 23 days and divided into stages, at the end of each individual time is calculated. At the end of the race all the results are added to compose the final score. In simple words - being the fastest rider on the last stage does not necessarily mean you will be the winner of the race. According to tradition, the rider who finished his daily segment the fastest is marked by wearing a yellow jersey.
The course of the Tour De France isn't set, and each year it is slightly different. In past races riders have also had stages in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Ireland, Luxembourg and Netherlands, but the one constant fact is the ending point - always Paris at the last Sunday at Champs-Elysees.
Usually there are around 20 teams, composed of 9 riders each. Team members share a sponsor, uniform and mechanical assistants and they are committed to help each other. While important worldwide, in France the tour is a major dispute point with different areas and families cheering for specific favorites each year. French people are highly emotionally involved in the race, so disagreements can easily escalate to serious disputes.
The tour De France is more than a standard athletic race. It requires a combination of endurance, persistence, great physical strength and extensive training. Riders are often raised to the level of national heroes and are admired by fans throughout France and the world.
For tourists who are lucky enough to be in the country during the month of July, the Tour De France offers an amazing opportunity to experience the passionate, enthusiastic side of the French culture and society. It is not just restricted to Paris. The whole country is overtaken with exhilarant thrill and it sometimes feel like a three weeks national holiday.
The race creates a true festival mood and you can see crowds roaring and celebrating before and as competitors ride pass. Fans often respond as if they're in the presence of a rock star and sometimes need to be restrained from running into the marked routs. Commercial vehicles playing loud music pass before the riders, giving out candies and souvenirs to the ecstatic crowds.
For more information regarding the Tour De France and related topics like rout, dates and history, visit Letour.fr.