We were putting something together the other day for a promotion of our cycling prints and we came up with these interesting facts about the grand Tour. I hope you enjoy reading them and feel free to share ...
• The 2017 Tour de France which starts on July 1st and finishes July 23rd will cover 3516km (2185 miles). The longest tour to date was the 1926 edition of 5745km (3750 miles).
• Most stage wins: Eddy Merckx (Belgian professional rider 1965-1978) with 34, following closely by current UK rider Mark Cavendish with 30.
• France has the most stage wins by country with 697 followed by Belgium (471) and Italy (264). Australia currently ranks 10th with 28 stage wins (the first in 1982 when Phil Anderson won Stage 2).
• More than 15 million spectators line the route each year, making this the biggest sporting event in the world. Some 3.5 billion people watch on TV around the world in 188 countries.
• In 3 weeks the peloton will drink over 40,000 litres of water and go through almost 800 tyres and 550 chains.
• More stats: 2000 journalists, 4700 hours of TV coverage, 8400 feed bags, 42,000 water bottles, over $3,400,000 AUD in prize money including $1500 AUD for every rider who finishes.
• 50 members of the Republican Guard and 12 full time police officers are on duty as the permanent police of the Tour de France. 23,000 police officers and gendarmes are mobilised for securing the route including 48 on motorcycles.
• The biggest winning margin was just under 3 hours in the first Tour in 1903. The biggest since was by Italian Fausto Coppi in 1952 of 28min 27sec over the Belgian Stan Ockers.
• The smallest winning margin to date has been 8 seconds by American Greg LeMond over Frenchman Laurent “The Professor” Fignon in 1989.
• The longest solo breakaway in post-war history was by Frenchman Albert Bourlon in 1947. He spent 253km (157 miles) alone at the front on a stage from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon.
• While 67 cyclists started the 1919 Tour, only 11 finished. One of those was later disqualified for borrowing a car to go and have his pedal axle repaired making it the smallest finishing field ever.
• Every day of the modern Tours there are 10 doctors, 5 nurses and a radiology truck following the race (this does not include each team’s own medical entourage).
• In the early 1900s Tour de France bikes weighed a whopping 18kg or so (about 40 pounds) and often had just one fixed gear. Today the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale - the world governing body for sports cycling) minimum bike weight is 6.8kg (about 15 pounds).
How many of you are gearing up to watch the Tour de France in July? In our household Matt loves following the mysterious manoeuvres of the peloton while I drift away and fantasise about owning one of the private chateaus along the route. Any Tour stories ... I would love to hear them.PS. And if you would love a cycling print or two on your walls you will find our collection here.