The Tour de France was founded in 1903 to promote L’Auto – a sports magazine with a particular interest in car racing. Cars and bicycles have been happily sharing the zeitgeist for a very long time. Today, The Tour de France, is the worlds biggest cycle race. It’s without a doubt the biggest celebration of cycling in the world, and although the official numbers vary, it’s generally considered that more than a billion people watch La Grande Boucle each year. And with an event this big, there are always some fascinating facts if you dig deep enough.

Have you ever wondered how many calories riders burn during the Tour de France, or how many tires they go through? Check out these 15 incredible Tour de France facts you probably never knew about largest sporting event in the world:

  1. The first race organiser, Henri Desgrange, insisted cyclists fix their own bikes and finish the race on the same bike they started with. Early photographs show cyclists with spare tyres around their necks and wheels strapped to their backs.
  2. Greg Lemond won the Tour De France In 1989 with 35 shotgun pellets embedded in his body! The pellets were the result of a “Hunting Accident” two years before
  3. With 36 wins, The French have taken more titles than any other nation
  4. The oldest stage winner was Firmin Lambot in 1922. He was 36 years old
  5. The youngest stage winner was Henri Cornet in 1904. He was 19 years old
  6. The average amount of calories used by a rider per day is 5,900. An ordinary man uses 2,500
  7. The heaviest rider to take part in Le Tour De France was Sweden’s Magnus Backstedt at 97kg
  8. 13,000 Gendarmes (French Police) cover The Tour De France every year. They even came to Yorkshire in 2013 to police the race
  9. In 1947 Albert Bourlon performed the longest solo breakaway: 253km
  10. 15 million spectators hit the route of the tour every year
  11. Throughout the 3 week race the peloton uses over 790 tyres in total
  12. The overall winner of the race receives a purse of €450,000. He’ll usually split this with his team-mates, or domestiques
  13. The first Tour De France in 1903 counted only six stages and attracted 70 entrants. Riders would start at night and pedal through to the following afternoon
  14. ŠKODA sends a fleet of 250 cars to the Tour de France each year, and during the three-week period they usually do more than 2.8 million kilometres. Since 2004, the ŠKODA fleet’s total mileage at the Tour de France mounts up to over 30 million kilometres without a single breakdown
  15. A rest day isn’t really a day of rest for the competitors – they’ll cycle for about 2 hours to flush out the lactic acid

Source: MPORA

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