TOUR DE FRANCE … THE 100th …BITS AND PIECES OF INFORMATION …

From today – Saturday, June 29 – to Sunday, July 21 France’s greatest show will be on: LE TOUR DE FRANCE. This year le tour starts in Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, France’s Mediterranean island which no longer wants to be France, but independent and has not failed to show us French mainlanders so with bombs and gun […]

tour defrance 100

From today – Saturday, June 29 – to Sunday, July 21 France’s greatest show will be on: LE TOUR DE FRANCE.

This year le tour starts in Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, France’s Mediterranean island which no longer wants to be France, but independent and has not failed to show us French mainlanders so with bombs and gun firing. But that’s enough about that for today. But no, I must just add that France’s greatest son – Napolèon – was Corsican. And he spoke French, as my history books tell me, with a heavy Corsican accent.corsican flag

So, it is the 100th Tour.

Starting in Porto-Vecchio it will end, as always, on Avenue des Champs-Élysées, this year though at around 8.30 to 9 P.M. and for the occasion the Arc de Triomphe at the top end of the avenue will be illuminated.

Here are a few interesting facts about this great spectacle.

(1)  Lance Armstrong has won the Tour more than any other participant: from the years 1999 to 2005. However, because he has done so only by doping himself, which he has admitted, his wins have been wiped from the Tour’s history. Just yesterday (June 28) he said in an interview in Le Monde that the tour can not be won without dope. Lance, speak for yourself. Okay?

(2)  Four participants have won the Tour 5 times. (No one has yet won it 6 times.) They are:  Frenchman Jacques Anquetil in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964, Belgian Eddy Merckx in 1949, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974; Frenchman Bernard Hinault in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985, and then also Spaniard Miguel Indurain in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

(3)  As for nationalaties, France has most wins with 37. Next is Belgium with 17. Then Spain with 12, then Italy with 9. Then it’s as follows: Luxembourg with 5, he USA with 3, Switzerland with 2, The Netherlands with 2, Austria with 1, Australia with 1, Germany with 1, Ireland with 1 and the U.K. with 1.

(4)  The Tour did not take place during WW1 (1915-1918)

(5)  The Tour’s history for the period of WW2 is cloudy. It’s best you read about it here because  all about France under the German Occupation is cloudy.

(6)  The first Tour in 1903 was won by Frenchman Maurice Garin (1871-1957).  He did not again participate in a Tour because he was stripped of his title for cheating. You can read about him here . Oddly, his win has not been stripped from the Tour’s history: maybe Lance Armstrong should start protesting.

(7)  The Tour’s creator is Henri Desgrange (1865-1940). He was a racer himself. You can read about him here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Desgrange

(8)  Advertising alcohol is against the law in France, but it was not so and in the past the Tour has been sponsored by Berger, Byrrh, Cinzano, Cointreau, Clacquesin, Pernod, Ricard, Ricqlès and Suze.

(9)  This year new sponsored are: Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque; Air Corsica (what else?); Moi, Moche et Méchant (a movie) and the English county of Yorkshire from where the 2014 Tour will start.

(10)    In 2012 all of 12 million spectators gathered along the Tour’s route. For the first Tour in 1930 2 million watched it go by.

(11)     In 2012 in the Tour’s caravan – publicity and back-up caravan – numbered 600 vehicles over 7.4 miles (12 km) and it took 45 minutes to pass by a spectator.

(12)      In 2012 54 police and gendarmes were needed to make sure that all went well along the route.

(13)        Paris is the place in France which has had the honor of receiving the Tour more than any other (98 times). Next is Bordeaux (75 times) and then it goes like this Pau (65 times); Bagnères-de-Luchon (48 times); Metz (41 times) and then Grenoble with 39 times.

(14)        A city/town/village which wishes to host the start of the Tour must put in an application to the organisers very much like with the Olympics and a World Cup.  For example, such a place must be able to provide a large area for the media that will arrive from the world over. Even just for the Tour to pass through a place requires a few years of organisation – and quite a bit of money. This year the village of Chorges (2625 inhabitants) in the Alps through which the Tour will pass on Wednesday, July 17,  is making 16,145 sq feet (1,500 sq m) – a hangar – available to the press. It will have 900 electrical plugs. And it costs the town hall €25,000 ($32,700 / £21,430).

(15) This year the participants will have 3,404.5 kms to cover.

(16) There will be 198 participants.

(17) The teams are: 5 French (AG2R; Cofidis; Europcar; FDJ and Sojasun; 3 Dutch (Argos; Blanco and Vacansoleil; 2 Belgian (Omega Pharma and Lotto; 2 Spanish (Euskaltel and Movistar)l 2 American (BMC and Garmin)l 2 Italian (Cannondale and Lampre; 1 Australian (Orica); 1 Danish (Saxo Bank); 1 English (Sky); 1 Kazakh (Astana); 1 from Luxembourg (RadioShack) and 1 Russian (Katusha).

I wrote about the Tour de France before. In July 2011 here  and here in 2012.

 

tour-de-fr

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

One Response to “TOUR DE FRANCE … THE 100th …BITS AND PIECES OF INFORMATION …”

  1. 1
    Alexander Cartier Says:

    (18) The tour has been created as a PR event for the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe”.

    (19) When the tour started, legs could last up to 18 hours.

    (20) The Tour is heavily featured on Asterix & Obelix – “Tour de France”.

    🙂

    Alex

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