About Tour de France

The Tour de France is the key highlight of the annual cycling calendar. It is a multi-stage race that, for the most part, is held in France, with occasional diversions into neighbouring countries. The tour has a long and colourful history stretching back to its inception in 1903 as a promotional tool for a French sports magazine. Since then, the race has taken place every year from its launch, apart from when it was called off during the First and Second World Wars. The race itself is usually held in July, with the route changing each year, although certain key stages of the race are always included, such as the mountain stretches through the Pyrenees and the Alps, not to mention the iconic finish at the Champs-Élysées. One key icon of the Tour de France is the famed yellow jersey which is worn on each stage by the rider with the lowest combined time so far, over the previous stages already completed. As the times are calculated after each stage, it is possible that the yellow jersey could change hands after each of the Tour's 21 day long stages. The winner of the Tour is the rider who has the lowest combined time overall, rather than the rider who wins the most stages. This means it is possible to win the race without ever winning a stage. As well as the general classification for fastest overall time, there are also other classifications covering other feats such as the best climber or fastest sprinter over the course of the Tour. Of those taking part in the race, there are usually between 20 and 22 teams, each of which has nine riders. To gain access to the race, a team must be invited by the organisers, usually gaining their attention by good performances in other races leading up to the Tour de France.

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