Kirsipuu wins Tour's latest stage

ROUEN, France, July 11 (UPI) -- Jaan Kirsipuu of Estonia won the fifth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday while Igor Gonzalez Galdeano of Spain retained the yellow jersey as overall leade

Thursday's Sports Calendar

By United Press International

Armstrong gains ground in team time trial

CHATEAU-THIERRY, France, July 10 (UPI) -- Igor Gonzalez Galdeano of Spain grabbed the overall lead in the Tour de France at the end of Wednesday's team time trial while three-time defending champion Lan

In Sports from United Press International

Criminal charges against Iverson pending

In Sports from United Press International

All-Star game ends as 7-7 tie after 11 innings

Wednesday's Sports Calendar

By United Press International

In Sports from United Press International

Major League All-Stars take center stage

McEwen gets third stage win

REIMS, France, July 9 (UPI) -- Robbie McEwen of Australia outsprinted Erik Zabel of Germany on Tuesday to win the third stage of the Tour de France.

Tuesday's Sports Calendar

By United Press International

Freire wins second stage at Tour de France

SARREBRUCK, Germany, July 8 (UPI) -- Oscar Freire of Spain edged local favorite Erik Zabel Monday to win the second stage of the Tour de France as Rubens Bertogliati of Switzerland maintained the o

Monday's Sports Calendar

By United Press International

Bertogliati wins first stage

, Luxembourg, July 7 (UPI) -- Rubens Bertogliati of Switzerland won the first stage of the Tour de France on Sunday and edged ahead of Lance Armstrong of the United States in the overall sta
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Tour de France
Spaniard Alberto Contador celebrates on the podium after winning this year's Tour de France in Paris on July 25, 2010. Contador won his third Tour de France title in the last four years. UPI/David Silpa

The Tour de France (French pronunciation: ) is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than 3,600 kilometres (2,200 mi) and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The race is broken into day-long segments, called stages. Individual times to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winner at the end of the race. The rider with the lowest aggregate time at the end of each day wears a yellow jersey. The course changes every year, but the race has always finished in Paris. Since 1975, the climax of the final stage has been along the Champs-Élysées.

The tour typically has 21 days of racing and covers 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi). The shortest Tour was in 1904 at 2,420 kilometres (1,500 mi), the longest in 1926 at 5,745 kilometres (3,570 mi). The three weeks usually include two rest days, sometimes used to transport riders from a finish in one town to the start in another. The race alternates between clockwise and anticlockwise circuits of France. The first anticlockwise circuit was in 1913. The New York Times said the "Tour de France is arguably the most physiologically demanding of athletic events." The effort was compared to "running a marathon several days a week for nearly three weeks", while the total elevation of the climbs was compared to "climbing three Everests."

The number of teams usually varies between 20 and 22, with nine riders in each. Entry is by invitation to teams chosen by the race organiser, the Amaury Sport Organisation. Team members help each other and are followed by managers and mechanics in cars.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tour de France."
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