<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
Just £2 per issue Subscribe to one of our France Magazines click here

23 amazing facts you didn’t know about the Tour de France

PUBLISHED: 12:10 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:22 10 May 2017

Climbing the Col du Tourmalet in the 2012 edition of the Tour de France © Dreamstime / John Kershner

Climbing the Col du Tourmalet in the 2012 edition of the Tour de France © Dreamstime / John Kershner

Archant

How much do you really know about the Tour de France? Here are 23 amazing facts you probably didn’t know about the Tour de France

1. The race is nicknamed ‘La Grande Boucle’ which means ‘the big loop’ and refers to the route that takes cyclists around France

2. The average cyclist burns between 4,000 and 5,000 calories during each stage of the race. That’s a whopping 123,900 calories for the entire race

3. In the 1920s, riders used to share cigarettes while riding because they were believed to ‘open up’ the lungs before climbs...

4. ...and until the 1960s, cyclists used to drink alcohol because it numbed the pain of their aching limbs. This practice was then banned because alcohol was considered a stimulant

_______________________________________________________________________

Related articles

The complete guide to the Tour de France

Picturesque cycle routes across France to try this summer

_______________________________________________________________________

5. The Tour de France gathers over 12 million spectators who line the route, making it the largest sporting event in the world…

6. …and 3,5 billion people watch the Tour de France on television each year

7. In 1919, only 10 cyclists finished the race, the least of all time

8. This one is a bit irksome but strangely fascinating: over the course of the race, riders will sweat enough water to flush the toilet 39 times!

9. The entire peloton uses around 790 tires over the three-week long race

10. The first winner of the Tour de France was Maurice Garin. He won again in 1904 but was then disqualified for cheating. He was caught taking a train to the Alps for the last stage!

_______________________________________________________________________

Related articles

Fun ideas for active weekend breaks in France

What’s on in France

_______________________________________________________________________

11. The French have taken more winning titles than other nations, totalling 36 wins

12. 4 riders have died during the Tour de France

13. The oldest stage winner was Firmin Lambot in 1922, he was 36…

14. ...and the youngest was Henri Cornet in 1904, he was only 19

15. In 2014, the average speed for riders was around 41km/h

16. The shortest winning margin was of 8 seconds between American Greg Lemond and Frenchman Laurent Fignon in 1989

17. In 2013, riders climbed the equivalent of Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Everest

18. Each team comes to the Tour de France with supplies that include 3,900 nutrition bars, 3,000 water bottles, 80kg of nuts, raisins, apricots and figs and…20 jars of jam!

19. Around 13,000 gendarmes are mobilized for the duration of the race

20. 1,200 hotel rooms are booked for teams, staff, press and Tour personnel.

21. On rest days, most cyclists don’t actually rest but hop onto their bike for a couple of hours to stop lactic acid from building up in their muscles and to stay focused

22. Jean Robic, winner of the 1947 Tour, drank lead-filled water bottles at the top of climbs to descend faster

23. The longest edition of the Tour de France was the 1926 race which totalled 3,570 miles

Do your own Tour de France and find out more about cycling in France

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Complete France

Yesterday, 13:52

Enter this competition to win a great family holiday with Les Castels on one of France’s top four- and five-star campsites in Ardèche

Read more
Yesterday, 13:07

Enter our competition to win an afternoon cookery class for a family of four at Come Cook in France in Charente

Read more
Yesterday, 17:16

Think you’re a Tour de France expert? Take our quiz to find out how much you really know about the world’s most famous cycle race...

Read more
Cycling in France
Yesterday, 13:40

Looking for a special venue for your wedding in France? All of these venues promise a day to remember...

Read more
Where to stay in France
Yesterday, 16:16

Save yourself from embarrassment and confusion next time you speak French by learning these common false friends

Read more
Learning French
Yesterday, 13:50

Did you know that French is spoken by more than 270 million people, including Bradley Cooper and Elton John, but in 1789 only 25% of French citizens actually spoke French?

Read more
Learning French
Mon, 17:30

Helen Skelton recently moved to Canet-Plage near Perpignan after her husband, rugby league player Richie Myler, signed with the Catalan Dragons. She reveals why it the perfect place for her and her young family to live

Read more
Expats in France
Friday, June 16, 2017

From salads to seafood to fruit desserts, add a French twist to your summer cooking with these traditional French recipes

Read more
French recipes
Friday, June 23, 2017

Americans, Australians and other non-EU residents need a visa or permit in order to visit or live in France – here’s our guide to the different visas and permits and how to apply for them

Read more
Brexit
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Seperation, divorce, illness or outliving a spouse results in many women struggling financially in retirement. Don’t rely on your partner to support you in retirement, start planning for your own retirement now!

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now