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Then came last year's rush to capitalise on the centenary of the Tour de France, creating an entire peloton of cycling books, of which one or two were excellent, some were good and a few can be quickly forgotten. So it is pleasantly surprising to find that, with less haste and more loving care, the renaissance of cycling writing continues. One senses that, for Tim Hilton in particular, a former art critic both on this newspaper and the Independent on Sunday and author of an acclaimed biography of John Ruskin, there was suddenly a morning when he woke up and reflected that cycling might, after all, be a subject serious and worthy enough for literary endeavour.
It is soon revealed that cycling has occupied a very central place in his life - certainly, I'd guess, as significant and intimate a place as art history and criticism. Cycling was Hilton's means of escape - from the claustrophobia of being an only child, the child moreover of communists. To have communist parents in the s was faintly exotic, but perhaps not as strange as it seems today. To be born into a "Party family", though, if not actually traumatic, was certainly an experience that set one apart.
One feels for the young Tim, having to pass around the snacks as the comrades meet at his parents' house in Birmingham for their weekly discussion of dialectical materialism. No wonder he was soon off on his bike. As Hilton quickly observes, however, it was largely to his egalitarian upbringing that he owed his affinity for cycling and his ability to make friends among the clubmates and people he met along the way.
Artists rub shoulders with artisans in cycling's classless fellowship of the road - not forgetting, Hilton remarks, the strong representation of posties, whose habits of rising early and clocking off at lunchtime mesh perfectly with the requirement of amateur racing cyclists for "getting the miles in". One More Kilometre is not simply a memoir: it is a deeply affectionate mental scrapbook of cycling lore.
Some has the flavour of very personal nostalgia - here is Hilton's memory of sleeping rough before an early-morning time trial: "I am old enough to remember the haystacks and still think it was a good way to spend a Saturday night. In that respect, Hilton is typical of his generation - as he says, "All old wheelmen like such stories". The difference, of course, is that Hilton has the skill as a writer to make such well-worn subjects as the great postwar rivalry between the Italian duo Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali fresh and compelling again.
And Hilton's breadth of knowledge and interest is considerable. How fascinating to discover, for instance, that Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot has a cycling connection. From that detention, they were transported to Drancy and thence to Auschwitz.
In the late 40s, some of the boys who hung around the stadium for a sight of their cycling heroes told Beckett one day: " On attend Godeau. The classification was added to draw the participation of the sprinters as well as celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tour. Points are given to the first 15 riders to finish a stage, with an additional set of points given to the first 15 riders to cross a pre-determined 'sprint' point during the route of each stage.
The point classification leader green jersey is worn by the rider who at the start of each stage, has the greatest number of points. In the first years, the cyclist received penalty points for not finishing with a high place, so the cyclist with the fewest points was awarded the green jersey. From on, the system was changed so the cyclists were awarded points for high place finishes with first place getting the most points, and lower placings getting successively fewer points , so the cyclist with the most points was awarded the green jersey. The number of points awarded varies depending on the type of stage, with flat stages awarding the most points at the finish and time trials and high mountain stages awarding the fewest points at the finish.
The winner of the classification is the rider with the most points at the end of the Tour.
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In case of a tie, the leader is determined by the number of stage wins, then the number of intermediate sprint victories, and finally, the rider's standing in the general classification. The classification has been won a record seven times by Peter Sagan. In the jersey was changed to red to please the sponsor. For almost 25 years the classification was sponsored by Pari Mutuel Urbain, a state betting company. As of , the points awarded are: . The leader of the classification is determined the same way as the general classification, with the riders' times being added up after each stage and the eligible rider with lowest aggregate time is dubbed the leader.
The Young rider classification is restricted to the riders that are under the age of Originally the classification was restricted to neo-professionals — riders that are in their first three years of professional racing — until In , the organizers made it so that only first time riders were eligible for the classification. In , the organizers changed the rules of the classification to what they are today.
This classification was added to the Tour de France in the edition , with Francesco Moser being the first to win the classification after placing seventh overall. The Tour de France awards a white jersey to the leader of the classification, although this was not done between and Two riders have won the young rider classification three times in their respective careers: Jan Ullrich and Andy Schleck.
The most combative rider wears a number printed white-on-red instead of black-on-white next day. An award goes to the most aggressive rider throughout the Tour. Already in a sort of combativity award was offered, when Sports Populaires and L'Education Physique created Le Prix du Courage , francs and a silver gilt medal for "the rider having finished the course, even if unplaced, who is particularly distinguished for the energy he has used.
It was initially not awarded every year, but since it has been given annually. Eddy Merckx has the most wins 4 for the overall award. The team classification is assessed by adding the time of each team's best three riders each day. The competition does not have its own jersey but since the leading team has worn numbers printed black-on-yellow. Until , the leading team would wear yellow caps.
As of , the riders of the leading team wear yellow helmets. There has been an intermediate sprints classification , which from awarded a red jersey  for points awarded to the first three to pass intermediate points during the stage. These sprints also scored points towards the points classification and bonuses towards the general classification. The intermediate sprints classification with its red jersey was abolished in ,  but the intermediate sprints have remained, offering points for the points classification and, until , time bonuses for the general classification.
From there was a combination classification ,  scored on a points system based on standings in the general, points and mountains classifications. The design was originally white, then a patchwork with areas resembling each individual jersey design.enter
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This was also abolished in The rider who has taken most time is called the lanterne rouge red lantern, as in the red light at the back of a vehicle so it can be seen in the dark and in past years sometimes carried a small red light beneath his saddle. Such was sympathy that he could command higher fees in the races that previously followed the Tour. In and the organisers excluded the last rider every day, to encourage more competitive racing. Prize money has always been awarded. From 20, francs the first year,  prize money has increased each year, although from to the first prize was an apartment offered by a race sponsor.
The first prize in was a car, a studio-apartment, a work of art, and , francs in cash. Prizes only in cash returned in Prizes and bonuses are awarded for daily placings and final placings at the end of the race.
Tour de France greats who doped their way to infamy
The Souvenir Henri Desgrange , in memory of the founder of the Tour, is awarded to the first rider over the Col du Galibier where his monument stands,  or to the first rider over the highest col in the Tour. A similar award, the Souvenir Jacques Goddet , is made at the summit of the Col du Tourmalet , at the memorial to Jacques Goddet , Desgrange's successor. The Tour directors categorise mass-start stages into 'flat', 'hilly', or 'mountain'. The first prologue was in The final time trial has sometimes been the final stage, more recently often the penultimate stage.
This stage rarely challenges the leader because it is flat and the leader usually has too much time in hand to be denied. But in , Pedro Delgado broke away on the Champs to challenge the second lead held by Stephen Roche. He and Roche finished in the peloton and Roche won the Tour.
In modern times, there tends to be a gentlemen's agreement: while the points classification is still contended if possible, the overall classification is not fought over; because of this, it is not uncommon for the de facto winner of the overall classification to ride into Paris holding a glass of champagne. In the last stage was a time trial. Greg LeMond overtook Laurent Fignon to win by eight seconds, the closest margin in the Tour's history. The climb of Alpe d'Huez has become one of the more noted mountain stages.
During the Tour de France it was the scene of a Riders complained of abusive spectators who threatened their progress up the climb. Another notable mountain stage frequently featured climbs the Col du Tourmalet , the most visited mountain in the history of the Tour. Col du Galibier is the most visited mountain in the Alps. To host a stage start or finish brings prestige and business to a town. The race may start with a prologue too short to go between towns in which case the start of the next day's racing, which would be considered stage 1, would usually be in the same town.
In director Christian Prudhomme said that "in general, for a period of five years we have the Tour start outside France three times and within France twice. With the switch to the use of national teams in , the costs of accommodating riders fell to the organizers instead of the sponsors and Henri Desgrange raised the money by allowing advertisers to precede the race.
The procession of often colourfully decorated trucks and cars became known as the publicity caravan. It formalised an existing situation, companies having started to follow the race. The first to sign to precede the Tour was the chocolate company, Menier , one of those who had followed the race. Preceding the race was more attractive to advertisers because spectators gathered by the road long before the race or could be attracted from their houses. Advertisers following the race found that many who had watched the race had already gone home. Menier handed out tons of chocolate in that first year of preceding the race, as well as , policemen's hats printed with the company's name.
The success led to the caravan's existence being formalised the following year. The caravan was at its height between and the mids, before television and especially television advertising was established in France. Advertisers competed to attract public attention. It bellows, it plays ugly music, it's sad, it's ugly, it smells of vulgarity and money. On top of that come the more considerable costs of the commercial samples that are thrown to the crowd and the cost of accommodating the drivers and the staff—frequently students—who throw them. The number of items has been estimated at 11 million, each person in the procession giving out 3, to 5, items a day.
Together, they weighed 32 tonnes 31 long tons; 35 short tons. Numbers vary but there are normally around vehicles each year. Their order on the road is established by contract, the leading vehicles belonging to the largest sponsors. The procession sets off two hours before the start and then regroups to precede the riders by an hour and a half. Vehicles travel in groups of five.
Their position is logged by GPS and from an aircraft and organised on the road by the caravan director—Jean-Pierre Lachaud [n 9] —an assistant, three motorcyclists, two radio technicians, and a breakdown and medical crew. The first three Tours from — stayed within France. No teams from Italy, Germany, or Spain rode in because of tensions preceding the Second World War after German assistance to the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War it was widely expected Spain would join Germany in a European war, though this did not come to pass.
Henri Desgrange planned a Tour for , after war had started but before France had been invaded. The route, approved by military authorities, included a route along the Maginot Line. The first German team after the war was in , although individual Germans had ridden in mixed teams. Plans to enter East Germany in were abandoned. It would be difficult to find accommodation for 4, people, he said. Our movement, which is nationalist and in favour of self-government, would be delighted if the Tour came to Corsica.
Most stages are in mainland France, although since the mids it has become common to visit nearby countries:  Andorra , Belgium , Germany and the former West Germany , Ireland , Italy , Luxembourg , Monaco , the Netherlands , Spain , Switzerland , and the United Kingdom have all hosted stages or part of a stage. The following editions of the Tour started, or are planned to start, outside France: . The Tour was first followed only by journalists from L'Auto , the organisers. The race was founded to increase sales of a floundering newspaper and its editor, Desgrange, saw no reason to allow rival publications to profit.
The first time papers other than L'Auto were allowed was , when 15 press cars were allowed for regional and foreign reporters. The Tour was shown first on cinema newsreels a day or more after the event. They used telephone lines. In they broadcast the sound of riders crossing the col d'Aubisque in the Pyrenees on 12 July, using a recording machine and transmitting the sound later.
The first television pictures were shown a day after a stage. The national TV channel used two 16mm cameras, a Jeep, and a motorbike. Film was flown or taken by train to Paris, where it was edited and then shown the following day. The first live broadcast, and the second of any sport in France, was the finish at the Parc des Princes in Paris on 25 July The first live coverage from the side of the road was from the Aubisque on 8 July Proposals to cover the whole race were abandoned in after objections from regional newspapers whose editors feared the competition.
In the first mountain climbs were broadcast live on television for the first time,  and in helicopters were first used for the television coverage. The leading television commentator in France was a former rider, Robert Chapatte. At first he was the only commentator. He was joined in following seasons by an analyst for the mountain stages and by a commentator following the competitors by motorcycle. Competition between channels raised the broadcasting fees paid to the organisers from 1. The two largest channels to stay in public ownership, Antenne 2 and FR3 , combined to offer more coverage than its private rival, TF1.
The two stations, renamed France 2 and France 3, still hold the domestic rights and provide pictures for broadcasters around the world. The stations use a staff of with four helicopters, two aircraft, two motorcycles, 35 other vehicles including trucks, and 20 podium cameras. Domestic television covers the most important stages of the Tour, such as those in the mountains, from mid-morning until early evening. Coverage typically starts with a survey of the day's route, interviews along the road, discussions of the difficulties and tactics ahead, and a minute archive feature.
The biggest stages are shown live from start to end, followed by interviews with riders and others and features such an edited version of the stage seen from beside a team manager following and advising riders from his car. Radio covers the race in updates throughout the day, particularly on the national news channel, France Info , and some stations provide continuous commentary on long wave. The Tour was the first to be broadcast in the United States. The combination of unprecedented rigorous doping controls and almost no positive tests helped restore fans' confidence in the Tour de France.
This led directly to an increase in global popularity of the event. The Tour is an important cultural event for fans in Europe. Millions  line the route, some having camped for a week to get the best view. Crowds flanking the course are reminiscent of the community festivals that are part of another form of cycle racing in a different country — the Isle of Man TT. The book sold six million copies by the time of the first Tour de France,  the biggest selling book of 19th-century France other than the Bible.
There had already been a car race called the Tour de France but it was the publicity behind the cycling race, and Desgrange's drive to educate and improve the population,  that inspired the French to know more of their country. Patrick Le Gall made Chacun son Tour In , three films chronicled a team. By following their quest for the points classification, won by Cooke, the film looks at the working of the brain.
It was directed by Bayley Silleck, who was nominated for an Academy Award for documentary short subject in for Cosmic Voyage. Vive Le Tour by Louis Malle is an minute short of This minute documentary has no narration and relies on sights and sounds of the Tour. After the Tour de France there are criteriums in the Netherlands and Belgium. These races are public spectacles where thousands of people can see their heroes from the Tour de France race.
The budget of a criterium is over , Euro, with most of the money going to the riders. Jersey winners or big-name riders earn between 20 and 60 thousand euros per race in start money. Allegations of doping have plagued the Tour almost since Early riders consumed alcohol and used ether , to dull the pain. In , the "Tour of Shame", Willy Voet , soigneur for the Festina team, was arrested with erythropoietin EPO , growth hormones , testosterone and amphetamine.
Police raided team hotels and found products in the possession of the cycling team TVM. Riders went on strike. After mediation by director Jean-Marie Leblanc , police limited their tactics and riders continued. Some riders had dropped out and only 96 finished the race. It became clear in a trial that management and health officials of the Festina team had organised the doping.
Further measures were introduced by race organisers and the UCI , including more frequent testing and tests for blood doping transfusions and EPO use. In , Philippe Gaumont said doping was endemic to his Cofidis team. In the same year, Jesus Manzano , a rider with the Kelme team, alleged he had been forced by his team to use banned substances. From , seven successive tours were declared as having been won by Lance Armstrong. He said he had used skin cream containing triamcinolone to treat saddle sores.
Favourites such as Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were banned by their teams a day before the start. Seventeen riders were implicated. American rider Floyd Landis , who finished the Tour as holder of the overall lead, had tested positive for testosterone after he won stage 17, but this was not confirmed until some two weeks after the race finished. Following his plea that other cyclists admit to drugs, former winner Bjarne Riis admitted in Copenhagen on 25 May that he used EPO regularly from to , including when he won the Tour.
On 24 July Alexander Vinokourov tested positive for a blood transfusion blood doping after winning a time trial, prompting his Astana team to pull out and police to raid the team's hotel. His Cofidis team pulled out. The same day, leader Michael Rasmussen was removed for "violating internal team rules" by missing random tests on 9 May and 28 June. Rasmussen claimed to have been in Mexico. The alleged lying prompted Rasmussen's firing by Rabobank. After winning the Tour de France , it was announced that Alberto Contador had tested positive for low levels of clenbuterol on 21 July rest day.
Postal Service cycling team , implicating, amongst others, Armstrong. The report contained affidavits from riders including Frankie Andreu , Tyler Hamilton , George Hincapie , Floyd Landis , Levi Leipheimer , and others describing widespread use of Erythropoietin EPO , blood transfusion, testosterone, and other banned practices in several Tours. One rider has been King of the Mountains , won the combination classification, combativity award, the points competition, and the Tour in the same year— Eddy Merckx in , which was also the first year he participated.
Twice the Tour was won by a racer who never wore the yellow jersey until the race was over. In , Jan Janssen of the Netherlands secured his win in the individual time trial on the last day. The Tour has been won three times by racers who led the general classification on the first stage and holding the lead all the way to Paris. Maurice Garin did it during the Tour's very first edition, ; he repeated the feat the next year, but the results were nullified by the officials as a response to widespread cheating.
Ottavio Bottecchia completed a GC start-to-finish sweep in And in , Nicolas Frantz held the GC for the entire race, and at the end, the podium consisted solely of members of his racing team. While no one has equalled this feat since , four times a racer has taken over the GC lead on the second stage and carried that lead all the way to Paris. It is worth noting that Jacques Anquetil predicted he would wear the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification from start to finish in , which he did.
That year, the first day had two stages, the first part from Rouen to Versailles and the second part from Versailles to Versailles. No yellow jersey was awarded after the first part, and at the end of the day Anquetil was in yellow. The most appearances have been by Sylvain Chavanel , who rode his 18th and final Tour in Prior to Chavenel's final Tour, he shared the record with George Hincapie with In light of Hincapie's suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs, before which he held the mark for most consecutive finishes with sixteen, having completed all but his very first, Joop Zoetemelk and Chavanel share the record for the most finishes at 16, with Zoetemelk having completed all 16 of the Tours that he started.
Of these 16 Tours Zoetemelk came in the top five 11 times, a record, finished second 6 times, a record, and won the Tour de France. In the early years of the Tour, cyclists rode individually, and were sometimes forbidden to ride together. This led to large gaps between the winner and the number two.
Since the cyclists now tend to stay together in a peloton , the margins of the winner have become smaller, as the difference usually originates from time trials, breakaways or on mountain top finishes, or from being left behind the peloton. The smallest margins between the winner and the second placed cyclists at the end of the Tour is 8 seconds between winner Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon in The largest margin, by comparison, remains that of the first Tour in 2h 49m 45s between Maurice Garin and Lucien Pothier.
The fastest massed-start stage was in from Laval to Blois The longest successful post-war breakaway by a single rider was by Albert Bourlon in the Tour de France. This is one of the biggest time gaps but not the greatest. Indurain achieved the mark with a record five consecutive wins. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cycling competition. This article is about the French national multi-day bicycle stage race.
For other uses, see Tour de France disambiguation. For other uses, see Tour disambiguation. See also: List of Tour de France general classification winners. Main article: Tour de France. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. July Main article: General classification in the Tour de France. See also: List of Tour de France general classification winners and Yellow jersey statistics. Main article: Mountains classification in the Tour de France. Main article: Points classification in the Tour de France.
Main article: Young rider classification in the Tour de France. Main article: Doping at the Tour de France. See also: List of professional cyclists who died during a race. Main articles: Tour de France records and statistics and Yellow jersey statistics. De Dion was a gentlemanly but outspoken man who already wrote columns for Le Figaro , Le Matin and others.
He was also rich and could afford to indulge his whims, which included founding Le Nain Jaune the yellow gnome , a publication that " In he revived the Paris-Brest event after a decade's absence. Giffard was the first to suggest a race that lasted several days, new to cycling but established practice in car racing. Unlike other cycle races, it would also be run largely without pacers. His position as editor depended on raising sales. That would happen if the Tour succeeded. But the paper and his employers would lose a lot of money if it didn't.
Desgrange preferred to keep a distance.
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He didn't drop the flag at the start and he didn't follow the riders. Desgrange showed a personal interest in his race only when it looked a success. It reflected not only the daring of the enterprise but the slight scandal still associated with riding bicycle races, enough that some preferred to use a false name. The first city-to-city race, from Paris to Rouen, included many made-up names or simply initials. The first woman to finish had entered as "Miss America", despite not being American.
Riders had points deducted for each five minutes lost. A rider in last position knew he would be disqualified at the end of the stage. If he dropped out before or during the stage, another competitor became the last and he would leave the race as well. That weakened a rival team, which now had fewer helpers. He died in Bruno and published in , it sold six million by , seven million by and 8,, by It was used in schools until the s and is still available.
The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July Retrieved 29 July The Jewish Chronicle. Cycling Revealed. Retrieved 3 June Archived from the original on 17 February Retrieved 6 August Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 15 July Archived from the original on 23 December Bicycling Magazine.
Archived from the original on 5 September