2013 Tour de France

Chris Froome, a 28-year-old Kenyan-born British cyclist, won the Tour de France on July 21. The Tour de France is considered to be the world’s biggest cycling race and also one of the toughest sports challenges on Earth! The Tour was a 3 week event where the cyclists covered a total distance of 3,404 km (2,115 mi) – that is about the distance between Madrid (Spain) and Moscow (Russia). This year’s race had 22 teams with nine cyclists in each. This was a special race as it was the 100th Tour de France. It took Froome 83 hours, 56 minutes, and 40 seconds of cycling to complete the race, and he won by a margin of 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Froome had come in 2nd place in last year’s Tour de France.

The Tour de France is held every year in July. The race goes all around France and often passes through some of its neighboring countries. This year it took place entirely within France. The route of the race changes every year, but it always ends in Paris on the Champs-Elysées, one of the most famous streets in the world. Each day of the bike race (called a stage of the race) is roughly equivalent to running a marathon, in terms of effort. Now imagine running a marathon each day for three straight weeks! On a typical day, each biker needs to eat or drink about 10,000 calories (most of us need just 2,000).

There are many different awards given during each stage of the race, but the main award is for the person who has the overall least time during the race. That winner gets to wear the yellow jersey (a yellow colored biking shirt). The fastest sprinter wears the green jersey, the best climber wears a red polka dot jersey, and the fastest young rider (under 25) wears the white jersey.

Now who do you think came up with the idea of starting such a race? Some serious bikers, perhaps? Not quite. The race was started by a magazine company in 1903 with the hopes of increasing its circulation.

After missing last year’s Tour de France, Didi Senft was back this year for the race. Senft, a 61-year-old German bike inventor, has come and watched the Tour de France every year since 1993, except last year’s race. He usually dresses in a red devil costume and runs alongside many riders. He has invented many unusual bikes including one of the world’s largest bicycles. This year he was at the race with a bike in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. Here is a photo of his Eiffel Tower shaped bike along with his largest bike.

Did you know?

The closest win ever in the Tour de France was by a margin of eight seconds in 1989 by Greg LeMond, an American cyclist. Can you imagine cycling with every little bit of strength in your body for 3 weeks and then losing by just 8 seconds?!

Did you know?

Didi Senft has invented a stroller for United Kingdom’s baby Prince George. Here is a video of it.

Image Credits: Christophe Badoux for Froome’s image, Andrei I. Loas for Tour De France Map’s image, and Heidas for Senft’s image

Sources: http://www.tourteufel.de/, http://www.letour.fr/le-tour/2013/us/, Wikipedia, www.france24.com