Tour de France Cycling Highlights, Trivia & Fun Facts

by Jim P.

cycling, Lance Armstrong

tour-de-france-logo.jpg Triathletes are swimmers, cyclists, and runners. In some respects, perhaps we are especially cyclists — particularly for those training and competing in long-course triathlon.

Many triathletes will be following the 2009 Tour de France, which is just days away. It begins on Saturday, July 4th.

Here’s an overview to get you ready for the big event, with lots of fun ways to stay in the loop with all things Tour de France. Plus, interesting trivia and race facts for Tour de France spectators and fans.

Facts About The Tour de France

The Tour de France is considered the oldest, most prestigious and the best known international cycling event.

The race is normally 23 days and broken down into day-long segments, called stages.

Individual finishing times for each stage are totaled to determine the overall winner.

The rider with the least elapsed time each day wears a yellow jersey. The most career stage wins of 34 is owned by Eddy Merckx of Belgium.

In case you’re wondering, 123,900 calories are burned by a rider during the Tour, and a single rider will go through 3 chains, on the average.

Sometimes strange things happen; the event was won by Greg LeMond in 1990 without winning any individual stages.

More Tour de France trivia here.

The 2009 Tour de France

There are 21 stages in the 2009 Tour de France that cover over 2,200 miles.

The stages include:

  • 10 flat stages
  • 7 mountain stages
  • 1 medium mountain stage
  • 2 individual time-trial stages
  • 1 team time-trial stage

Stage # 7 is the longest, 139 miles. The course slightly changes from year to year but the tradition continues of finishing in Paris.

Questions About The Tour de France

A few interesting questions about the 2009 Tour de France…


Can a newcomer win in 2009?

In 1949 newcomer Fausto Coppi triumphed at the Tour de France. In 1969, a certain Eddy Merckx also clinched the Tour for his first appearance.

The cycling experts say the following 2009 newcomers may give the seasoned veterans a run for their money:


Who are the Americans?

Seven Americans will ride in the 2009 Tour de France:

Will Lance Armstrong win #8?

He’s already won it 7 times; can he do it again 2009? No shortage of drama here!

Spaniard Contador, winner in 2007, will lead the Astana team. Although Astana manager Johan Bruyneel made clear that Contador would be the leader and Armstrong his lieutenant, we all know better. Armstrong, the 7-time champion, has a knack for finding the finish line first.

The Armstrong versus Contador rivalry conjures memories of the Bernard Hinault versus American Greg LeMond rivalry. LeMond won the 1986 race despite repeated attacks from his French teammate.

How To Follow The 2009 Tour de France

Here are some fun ways to follow the 2009 Tour de France:


Now, I have a few questions for you…

#1 Do you plan on following the Tour de France. If so, what specifically sparks your interest to do so?

#2 Do you know of other options for following the Tour on the Interne
t or through other media?

#3 Do you feel following the Tour has some benefit to you as a triathlete? If so, what?