Cycling / Biking

8 fun Tour de France facts you didn’t know

We’ve all watched the Tour de France, but how much do we really know about this iconic race? The rich history behind the Tour de France, its past stories and the fun facts associated with it make it all the more exciting.

We’ve put together 8 fun Tour de France facts that you may not have known. Read on to find out more…

Tour de France fun facts…


The first Tour de France race was in 1903, created by Henri Desgrange who was the editor at the newspaper L’Auto.

It originally started out as a marketing scheme, advertising the paper around France.

Clipping from l'Auto about the 1903 tour de france


123,900 is the average amount of calories each rider needs to consume over the course of the three weeks.

That is equivalent to 495 croissants, 152 full English breakfasts or 200 bottles of champagne!


The youngest cyclist to win the Tour de France was named Henri Cornet, who raced in the second edition of the race in 1904.

Henri Cornet took the winning title at the impressive age of just 19 years old!

Henri Cornet riding his bike in 1904


The same 1904 race, however, was a cause for scandal as original winner Maurice Garin (1903 winner) and the three runners up were all disqualified after allegations of competitors using trains during the race!

Maurice Garin cycling for the finish line with a man running behind him


In the 1920s competitors shared cigarettes while riding.

The riders believed at the time that smoking may help to ‘open up the lungs in preparation for the climbs!

Three cyclists sharing a cigarette whilst riding


Alcohol was consumed to ease any pains during the race. This was later banned in 1960, as it was believed to be a stimulant.

Tour de France competitors drinking beer on stone steps with their bikes leaning close by


This thrilling and awe-inspiring race attracts over 12 million spectators each year, making it the largest sporting event in the world.

Tour de France spectators lining the famous 21 hairpins up to Alp d'Huez


Each team comes prepared for the tour with supplies that include 3,900 nutrition bars, 80kg of nuts, raisins, apricots and figs, 3,000 water bottles and – most importantly – 20 jars of jam!

Where will you be watching?

The route of the Tour de France changes year on year, but you can check the official route to find the closest viewing point to you! If you’re a real enthusiast, why not book a chalet near one of the stops in the French Alps, or even try one of our bike-friendly accommodations to have a go at road cycling yourself?

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