Itching powder tactics
In its early days the Tour de France was not such an orderly event. Riders got away with a lot more than they would do today. Competitors were so desperate to win the prestigious race that they resorted to putting itching powder down people’s shorts, scattering broken glass in other riders’ paths and even spiking other riders’ water bottles.
In 1952 Fausto Coppi successfully won the Tour de France with a whopping 28 minute and 52 second margin on his competitor Stan Ockers, who finished second. The smallest winning margin was in fact just eight seconds in 1989 when Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon.
As with most sports, nicknames are rife in cycling and here are just a few of them: Cuddles (Cadel Evans for Australia), The Shark of Messina (Vincenzo Nibali for Italy) and the Hulk (André Greipel for Germany).
10 things you didn't know about the Tour de France
Cavendish and Wiggins are jokers
Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins are two of Britain’s most talented riders and it’s no surprise that rivalry can become quite heated between this powerful pair. In fact, when training in Mallorca Cavendish played a practical joke on Wiggins and hid his £12,000 bike on the railings above the hotel.
How many chains does a cyclist wear out?
When did you last wear out an entire chain? For most cyclists wearing out a chain is not a common occurrence, but for those taking part in the ultimate race – the Tour de France – chains are typically worn out three times over the three week event.
The cyclists need to eat 12 Big Macs every day
Although the riders would never eat 12 Big Macs this is the amount of calories the average competitor needs to consume after one day of cycling in the Tour de France. If Big Macs don’t excite you the equivalent of this burger feast is 21 chocolate bars.
A car ride to (near) victory
The first ever Tour de France kicked off in 1903 and everyone had a fantastic time; especially the winner, Maurice Garin. Yet, by 1904, the second ever Tour de France was sullied by a meddlesome man called Hippolyte Acouturier. Hippolyte attached a wire to a car and held on to the other end using his teeth. The wise organisers busted Hippolyte and he was disqualified.
The oldest and youngest race winners
The oldest race winner is Firmin Lambot, who rode to victory in 1922 at the grand old age of 36. Impressively the youngest ever race winner was Henri Cornet, who in 1904 won the second ever Tour de France aged just 19 years old by default as a result of other riders’ bad sportsmanship.
€3,200,200 prize money
The total prize money awarded throughout the race is €3,200,200. The most amount of money awarded to an individual is €450,000 though and this prize goes to the overall Tour de France winner.
The Tour de France attracts some very dedicated supporters. On average fans travel 80.8 miles (130 kilometres) to watch the race and will spend, on average, six hours waiting by the side of a road to watch the cyclists as they pass through that section of the course.
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