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What is the Tour de France?

The Feed's Guide to the TDF: The TDF Explained

Over the next three weeks, the biggest bike race in the world will unravel across France. Of course, we’re talking about Le Tour de France. This race is steeped in rich history, but it’s still a bit puzzling to most people.

We’re excited to bring you a new series called The Feed’s Guide to the TDF. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide a variety of blogs on the TDF – from what it actually is, how it’s won, what the pros eat, and much more!

For this first edition, we’re breaking it down to the basics.

What is the Tour de France

  • The TDF is the world's most prestigious bike race and has been running for over a century (this year is the 110th edition).
  • The Tour takes riders across France, through the Alps and the Pyrenees, and usually finishes in Paris on the Champs-Élysées.
  • The route is ever-changing but uses a few iconic terrain features and roads often (i.e., Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux).
  • This year it will take place from July 1 – July 23
  • The total race distance this year is 3,404 Km / 2,115 Mi
  • The Grand Départ – The TDF usually starts somewhere different outside of France each year, so other cities and countries get a taste of the Tour. This year, the Tour will start in Bilbao, Spain.

Key Details

  • 22 professional teams will be allowed to compete, comprised of 8 riders each (176 riders total)
  • The race is spread across 21 stages or days
  • Riders race 1 stage per day, earning a daily finishing time
  • Each stage has a stage winner and winning a single stage is a big deal
  • The overall winner of the Tour de France, though, is the rider with the fastest (lowest) time after all 21 stages
  • On average, they will ride over 100 miles per stage.
  • They’ll average burning roughly 5,000cals a day…that’s multiple TDF Packs and then some!
  • Riders will get 2 rest days – one after the first week and another after the second week.

The rider with the fastest time after completing all 21 stages is declared the winner of the Tour de France. Each stage is timed from start to finish, and every second counts towards the race's General Classification (GC). The current leader of the race wears the hallmark yellow jersey, making them easily identifiable. The rider wearing the yellow jersey upon reaching the last stage in Paris is the winner of the Tour de France.

In later blogs, we’ll dive into much more about this iconic race – including but not limited to: cycling’s paradox between being a team sport and an individual sport, the roles of the team, a typical TDF diet, and the hottest trends + secrets of the pros. Vive le Tour!

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The Feed. / Monday, July 3, 2023