Tour de France is over: Tour’s evolution throughout its almost 120 years history

The most famous and prestigious  cycling race, Le Tour de France  has been organized for 119 years!  But how did the world’s biggest  annual sporting event start in the  first place? The first race was held  in 1903 with original idea to  increase sales for the newspaper  L’Auto. Since then the Tour only  stopped during the World Wars I  and II. The race was being  continuously prolonged and the  participation extended from a  primarily French riders to riders  from all over the world. While the  modern editions of the Tour  consists of 21 stages, the original  one only had five stages starting in Paris, continuing to Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes and  returning back to Paris. Originally, only fifteen participants entered the first edition compared to  176 participants in 2022. Unlike today, cyclists in the first years of the Tour rode individually.  Nowadays the competitors compete in teams that support each other throughout individual  stages. The prize money has also changed significantly. From the first year’s 20,000 Francs  (equivalent to approximately 3000 dollars today), to this year’s prize money was 2.7 million  dollars!

Yellow, green, white, polka dot - confused by the jerseys?  There are four jerseys awarded during the Tour each year. The general classification leader, or  simply overall race leader wears the most important one, the maillot jaune - yellow jersey;  leader of the points classification wears a maillot vert - green jersey, known also as the  sprinter’s jersey; maillot à pois - polka dot jersey goes to the King of the Mountains - the leader  of the mountains classification and the white jersey - maillot blanc, belongs to the leader of the  general classification younger than 25 years old. 


The route changes every year, but the celebratory finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris  remains the same every year. Route includes mountainous passages through the Pyrenees and  the Alps. 2022 edition started in Denmark, passed Belgium, Switzerland and of course, France.  What made this year’s Tour interesting was the story of the overall winner, Danish cyclist Jonas  Vingegaard, who just five years ago worked in a fish factory and only became a professional  full time athlete in 2016. His story is unique and his homeland is rightfully in love him.

- Dominika

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