One of the biggest annual (once a year), cycling events ended on July 29, 2018. This is the world famous ‘Tour de France’ event that turned 105 this year.
176 cyclists from 22 teams participated in this race. The race is split into 21 stages and goes through flat, hilly and mountainous terrain, mostly through France, but also through the surrounding areas of Spain and Germany. The total distance cyclists cover is a staggering 3,349 km (2,082 mi). It is a gruelling test of human endurance.
How do the teams compete?
There are 8 cyclists per team. They decide who the leader is, and then employ strategies to make sure that their team and their main contenders are protected, can get to the front, and can finish the race in competitive positions. The teams tend to ride in a pack, called a peloton.
The cyclists ride for about 5 hours a day, covering about 225 km each day. The race times of each cyclist is noted and then they calculate and see who the winners are.
This year there were a total of 2.2 million Euros given in prizes!
The Yellow Jersey: The cyclist that completes all the stages in the shortest time (lowest cumulative time) wins the tour. He receives the coveted yellow jersey and earns €500,000 in prize money. This is the top prize but there are many more jerseys and prizes to be won!
A green jersey and €25,000 is awarded to the best sprinter in the flat stages, a polka dotted jersey and €25,000 to the finest climber in the mountainous stages, a white jersey and €20,000 to the youngest rider to complete the race in the lowest time and a €50,000 to the fastest team. The top ranking winners of the 20 individual stages also win prize money!
Who won this year?
This year the race was completed by July 29, 2018, on the Champs Elysees, a big wide open road in Paris. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky took the lead in Stage 10 and held on all the way through to Paris. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) placed second, while Thomas’ teammate and four-time Tour champion Chris Froome came third. Team Sky looked strong through the race and won the team competition!
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 29, 2018
Controversy: Of course no race is ever complete without some drama. This year Team Sky’s Chris Froome, the 4 time Tour De France Champion was facing a potential ban for using twice the permitted level of an asthma drug at another cycling competition in 2017. There was a chance he would miss the Tour de France but just days before the start of the race, the International Cycling Union (UCI) cleared him of all charges. This decision did not sit well with cycling enthusiasts and the media. There were many angry spectators that came out and protested during the race.
In addition, local French farmers were unhappy with some of the European Union decisions and they stacked bales of hay blocking the race in the 16th stage. Officials had to spray tear gas to break up the protest. Some of the cyclists got sprayed too and had to be treated.
It’s all done and dusted now. As the French say, ‘au revoir’ – or – ’till we meet again’. we look forward to next year!
Written by: Biyash Choksey and Sunaina Murthy