The 104th Tour de France began July 1 in Düsseldorf, Germany and will end on the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 23 after riders complete 21 stages and 3,540 km. Among the world’s most famous and prestigious cycling events, the Tour de France has been held each July since 1903.* A multi-stage race finishing in France but traversing neighboring countries, the Tour is organized around five stage types: flat, medium and high mountain, individual time, and intermediate sprint.
- The 2017 Tour includes 22 teams and 198 riders, continuing the trend of larger and larger starting fields in each Tour. In 1903, 60 cyclists competed and 21 finished the entire tour; last year, 198 competed and 174 finished.
- In just the fourth stage of this year’s tour, the International Cycling Union disqualified the reigning world champion—Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan of the German team Bora Hansgrohe—from the Tour for his role in a crash, eliminating a fan favorite for individual stage wins.
Today’s viz features statistics about the Tour de France and its riders, along with comparisons to other major international races. Did you know:
- Longest Tour de France. In 1926, the tour was 5,745 km. The average distance for the Tour is more than 1,000 km less at 4236.61 km.
- Repeat winners of the Tour de France. Cyclists from France reign in terms of number of podium finishes, outstripping competitors from Belgium by more than double. Lance Armstrong was the leader in terms of individual top finishes before being stripped of his seven titles for doping. Four cyclists have each won five tours: Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain, and Eddy Merckx.
- Longest international race. While the Tour de France was the longest race of 2016, this year the Giro d'Italia is longer at 3,609 km. Over the 103-year history of the Tour de France, it was the longest international race in 86 of the years; only the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana have had longer courses.
- Slowest international race. Based on the average speed of the race winners, the slowest major international race is the Gran Premio di Lugano, which is also one of the shortest races (185.6 km in 2017). Given the varying terrain, weather, and other factors that affect race times, however, there is no obvious relationship between the distance of a race and the average speed of the winners for major international races.
* The Tour de France was suspended during each of the World Wars, from 1915 to 1918 and 1940 to 1946.