The History Behind The Race.
The tour has races within the race. Each of the winner jerseys have their own “win”. The “Yellow Jersey” is for the “general classification”, the rider with the lowest aggregate time of the race. The “Green Jersey” is awarded to the points leader. Points are awarded to high stage finishers and intermediate sprints. The “Polka Dot Jersey” is awarded the points leader of the mountains. This is the rider that gains the most points for mountain summits. The “White Jersey” is awarded to the best young cyclist under the age of 26. Finally there is the “Team Classification” however, they do not receive colored jersey’s, instead their race numbers are on a yellow field instead of white. Ultimately it is the “General Classification” that teams enter the Tour de France hoping to win. Under some circumstances a team may change tactics and compete for the team classification.
This spiffy animation breaks it all down.
The Tour de France was started in 1903 and was sponsored by the French newspaper L’ Auto. The race was intended to help increase the newspaper’s circulation of L’ Auto. The first race consisted of 60 racers and 21 “classified” finishers, over six stages covering approximately 2,428 kilometers (1,508 miles). Racers could abandon stages and line up to race the next stage, for stage prizes, but were no longer considered for the general classification. The race was an enormous hit. Herni Desgrange, editor of L’ Auto, is father of the largest sporting event in history. This year over 12 million spectators will turn out to watch the tour live. Approximately 3.5 billion people will watch the tour on television. Maurice Garin of France won that first tour with a finish time of 93:33:00. The 2016 edition of the tour saw England’s Chris Froome win the yellow jersey with a finishing time of 89:04:48, covering 3529km (2193 miles).
The first tour had stages that were in excess of 470 km (292 miles), taking more than 17 hours to complete. This year’s edition of the Tour will cover 3540 km (2200 miles) over 21 stages. Additionally, this year’s tour will include Germany, Luxemburg, and Belgium. It will contain 9 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 5 mountain stages, 2 individual time trials, and 2 rest days. There will be 22 teams consisting of 9 riders on each team.