Tour de France: Records, Recordholders and Heros
Though Raymond Poulidor has not had the pleasure of getting to wear the yellow jersey, he has however set the podium record, having landed in the top 3 a total of 8 times.
Eddy Merckx remains the holder of the record for stage wins, with 34 under his belt.
The youngest rider to win the Tour was Henri Cornet in 1904… at only 20 years old. And France holds the highest number of final victories (36), with Belgium (18) and Spain (12) following behind.
As far as the longest stage ever completed, the athletes in the Tour of 1919 pedaled for 486 km between Sables d’Olonne and Bayonne!
And did you know that in 2005, the riders pedalled for 3 weeks at an average of 41.6 km an hour? Let’s not forget either that France's Maurice Garin, who won the first Tour in 1903, remains the record holder for the biggest gap between the winning time and the runner-up (2 hours, 49 minutes and 21 seconds) in the general classification.
North America and the Tour de France
North American riders began to make their mark on the Tour de France in the 1980’s with the introduction of Californian Greg LeMond, who went on to win the race in 1986, 1989 and 1990.
Canada has also had several notable achievements throughout the history of the “Big Loop.” Steve Bauer is the only Canadian cyclist to have worn the yellow jersey, which he did in 1988 and 1990, coming in fourth place. And let’s not forget Torontonian Michael Barry (2010) and Ryder Hesjedal, hailing from British Columbia, who finished seventh in 2010.
In the past 10 years, Canadian cycling has progressed by leaps and bounds. This year, there will be a dozen Canadian representatives on the European professional cycling scene, more than ever before. And Quebec is no exception: for the Tour’s 100th edition, David Veilleux will be the first Quebecois to participate in the race. He will be wearing the colours of the French team, Europecar, led by Thomas Voeckler.
Some numbers, technicalities and statistics
The 95 Tours de France that took place between 1903 and 2008 represent more than 360,000 km, approximately the distance between earth and the moon. They have touched upon every region of mainland France and her neighbouring countries..
- More than 500 cities and villages have hosted the tour (around 2,000 stages and prologues.)
- With this year's Tour starting in Corsica, it will have touched upon all of the departments of metropolitan France.
- Total participation surpasses 10,000 cyclists, with more than 5,000 being ranked and 250 having worn the yellow jersey.
- After Paris, the city that has received the tour the most frequently is Bordeaux (80 times)
- Which tour was the longest? The 1926 course stretched for 5,745 km..
- On July 1st, 1903 at the time of the first Tour, only 60 cyclists set out on the course, 21 of whom completed it. This year at the centennial edition, about 200 participants will begin the race at the Porto-Vecchio.
- In 1903, the course consisted of 6 stages. In 2013 it is composed of 21, and success is bound to be seen on France's roads again this year as it always has been before!