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Tour de France 2023: A Challenge Unlike Any Other

Tour de France 2023: A Challenge Unlike Any Other
Bahrain-Victorious' Slovenian rider Matej Mohoric (R) and Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux's Belgian rider Tom Devriendt (L) | Thomas samson / afp

Can you imagine peddling for 23 days straight and over 2,110 miles?

Contrary to unpopular belief, the Tour de France isn’t a visit to the Eiffel Tower, a rest stop for a baguette at a chic café, and a romantic cruise on the French Riviera, no. It’s the world’s most prestigious cycling race, and this essential guide will get your peddling knowledge up to scratch for the summer event.

What Is It?

If we’re keeping it classy with French etiquette, the Tour de France to its locals is known as “Le Grande Boucle” or “Le Tour,” and it’s the planet’s biggest annual cycling competition. The event has occurred every year in France (or nearby countries) since 1903 and comprises 21 stages that involve 3,406 kilometers (2,116 miles) of peddling—yes, a strong leg game is required.

Imagine the NBA Championships, the World Series, the Super Bowl, or the World Cup, but on a bike. The world’s most elite cyclists gather in France with hopes of lifting the Tour de France trophy and, of course, the juicy cash reward on offer as first place takes $500,000 from a $2.5 million prize pool—albeit not having the ability to spend the money for a while because you won’t be able to walk to the bank for a month after competing.

Tour de France 2023

Cigarettes, coffee, wine, bread, and frogs are all associated with the French, but the Tour de France has come a long way since its debut.

I don’t think we’ll see many riders sharing puffs on a cigarette. Still, the highly anticipated 110th edition of the Tour de France began in Bilbao on July 1 in the Basque country of Northern Spain and has continued into France throughout the northeast. Between the Pyrenees, Massif Central, the Jura, the Vosges, and the Alps, all of France’s famous mountains are on course, and it’s the second straight year that the Tour de France started outside of the country.

If you’re late to the party, fear not. Plenty of action remains, with eight flat stages, four hilly, eight mountain, and four summit finishes. In addition, individual time trials and two rest days are included.

Where to Watch the Tour de France?

For United States residents, flick over to Peacock or NBC for the latest Tour de France news and live racing. For those residing outside of the U.S., 188 countries are broadcasting the event, so use your local T.V. guide because I don’t have the time.

However, this isn’t a four-quarter football game, so if you’re in it for the long haul and become agitated waiting for the next race, check out Tour de France: Unchained—an eight-part Netflix docuseries that covered last year’s event in epic detail.

Inner Workings of the Tour de France

With 176 cyclists preparing for leg cramps, sore asses, and backache, they’re split into 22 teams of eight. The event lasts for 21 days, regularly in July, and I can barely walk to the store without breaking a sweat, so I respect those competing in this 3,400-kilometer competition.

There are 21 stages in total (x9 flay, x3 hilly, x7 mountain, x2 individual time trial & x2 rest days), and one stage is completed daily. On average, each stage takes roughly five hours, 30 minutes to complete. All 21 stages have a winner, but the Tour de France champion is crowned by completing the most stages in the shortest amount of time. Check out the Tour de France standings every day to stay up to date on who will win.

Personally, I like to grab my static exercise and join in the fun while watching, but my Tour de Living Room isn’t quite the same, and it’s too close to the fridge.

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