Starting in 1903, the Tour de France was born out of a rivalry between two French sports newspapers: Le Vélo and L’Auto. The multi-stage race was proposed by a L’Auto journalist as a way to sell more copies.
It began as a six-stage event over 18 days, starting and ending in Paris, and stopping at Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes en route. It was won by Frenchman Maurice Garin and today is still the biggest race on the cycling calendar.
Who has the most Tour de France wins?
Eddy Merckx won the combination classification, combativity award, points competition, King of the Mountains jersey and overall title in 1969 — the first time he competedAgence France Presse/Getty Images
The Tour de France, now in its 106th edition, has seen some incredible feats over the years, with many of cycling’s greatest names on the honours board.
The following riders have won the Tour de France five times:
Jacques Anquetil (1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)
Eddy Merckx (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
Bernard Hinault (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985)
Miguel Indurain (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)
In his first appearance in the race, Merckx, considered the greatest cyclist of all time, won the 1969 combination classification, combativity award, points competition and the Tour overall, as well as the King of the Mountains jersey.
Jean Robic won the Tour in 1947 despite never wearing the yellow jersey, having attacked on the final stage.
Maurice Garin won the first ever race, topping the general classification (GC) on the first stage and holding the lead all the way to Paris. Garin also secured victory the following year (though the results were later nullified due to widespread cheating).
The start-to-finish GC sweep was also achieved by Ottavio Bottechia in 1924, Nicolas Frantz in 1928 and Romain Maes in 1935.
In terms of individual stage wins, the five highest ranking riders are:
Eddy Merckx (34 stage wins)
Mark Cavendish (30 stage wins)
Bernard Hinault (28 stage wins)
André Leducq (25 stage wins)
André Darrigade (22 stage wins)
When does the 2019 Tour de France start?
The 2019 Tour de France kicks off on Saturday 6 July, with the Grand Départ taking place in Brussels for the first time since 1958. The race will culminate on the Champs-Élysées in Paris — as it has every year since 1975 — on Sunday 28 July.
What is the Tour de France route for 2019?
Tour de France 2019 route
The Tour de France takes place over 21 gruelling stages, complete with flat sprints, mountainous climbs and individual and team time-trials.
Stage 21: Rambouillet – Champs-Élysées, Paris (128km)
Geraint Thomas wearing the yellow jersey at the 2018 Tour de FranceChris Graythen/Getty Images
How do you win the Tour de France?
Winning the Tour de France isn’t as simple as being the first rider to cross the finish line on the final stage in Paris. Instead, there are several classifications based on a range of criteria.
The most prestigious is the general classification (GC), which ranks riders according to their overall time. The leader of the general classification wears the yellow jersey and the rider with the fastest overall time at the end of the race is the winner of the Tour de France.
Meanwhile, the mountains classification is based on points accumulated on the Tour’s classified ascents. Points are awarded to the first riders over each summit and the leader of the classification wears the polka-dot jersey.
The points classification is for sprinters and is based on points awarded for the top finishers on each stage.
Finally, the young rider classification follows the same format as the general classification (best overall time) but is for riders born on or after January 1, 1994.
Last year’s Tour de France winners, L-R: Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky, now Team Ineos), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The 105th edition of the Tour de France covered 3,351 km, beginning in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île in the west and concluding on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky, now known as Team Ineos) won the overall general classification, with Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) coming in second and third place respectively.
Peter Sagan (Bora–Hansgrohe) took the points classification for the sixth time, while Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) won the King of the Mountains classification.
The young rider classification was awarded to Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), while Movistar won the team classification.
Tour de France 2019 start list and favourites
Jakob Fuglsang’s having a hell of a year, most recently taking victories at the Criterium du Dauphine, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Ruta del Sol.Tim de Waele/Getty Images
Mildred’s a utilitarian cyclist at heart, determined to do everything on two wheels, whether it’s shopping, commuting or moving house. She’s spent the past three years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise in bikes — and what people want out of them — comes from working in real-world bike shops and learning the ins and outs of the industry. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, Mildred’s ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch. She’s easily won over by steel frames coupled with a 650B/plus-tyre combo, and is currently riding a Surly Bridge Club.