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The Tour De France: The Most Famous Bicycle Race In The World

By Damian Papworth

Most Americans have probably heard of The Tour de France, but one might be hard-pressed to find someone who actually sat down and watched any portion of the race. However, this typical American approach to the race is in no way indicative of what happens in Europe, when everyone is literally on the edge of their seat for almost a month, watching their favorite riders barrel down mountain passes or try to get ahead of one another on the flat stretches.

For people in the United States, the idea of a bunch of grown men on bicycles pedaling through the countryside might not seem like a big deal. Worse yet, there might even be gross misjudgment in place that makes it seem like a delicate or easy endeavor to participate in.

The biggest mistake that people make when thinking about The Tour de France is thinking the race just lasts for a couple of days, or is actually not that long, but is spread out time-wise. In reality, the race is thousands of miles long, usually lasts for 21 days of continuous riding, and has been known not just to span France, but the surrounding countries, too. Riders have to navigate some of the steepest and most dangerous roads in France, and must be in peak physical shape to even think about doing a good job.

In fact, a number of riders have actually not survived The Tour de France, whether it was succumbing to heart attacks after ingesting methamphetamine while climbing part of the hills, or simply not being able to keep a bicycle on the road in times of great exhaustion. Riding the race has been compared to running in a marathon non-stop for a month, and it’s no wonder why this seems an appropriate description once viewers take a single look at those treacherous mountain passes.

It’s not just mountain passes, though. The race usually weaves in and out of cities, and traditionally wraps up with a triumphant sprint down busy city streets in Paris. The race is also known for varying in length, with the route changing every year. Sometimes, the difference can be as sizable as a few hundred miles, but usually it’s more of a matter of routes. Anyone who wants to participate, though, should be in top form, as even very athletic riders talk of experiencing a great deal of trouble at the prospect of tackling the race.

Aside from that, the race is known for being daunting emotionally, since much time is spent alone, unsure of one’s standing in the race, and dealing with the very real thought that, after the next hundred miles, 900 more are waiting. It takes a lot out of anyone, even a famous bicyclist, to compete in this race.

While Europe has long praised the race, worked itself into a fervor over the conclusion, and pointedly supported riders the way that long-term Red Sox fans root for their home team in baseball, America has gotten on board in recent years since they became one of the big winners. Ever since one of their own started pummeling the Europeans, interest in the race, and in cycling in general, has grown.

Who managed to change American opinion on The Tour de France? A single rider, Lance Armstrong, who managed to win The Tour de France not once, not twice, not three times, but SEVEN times, in a row. He managed to come back from a devastating cancer diagnosis to triumph in the race, and led to a lot of bicycling-related patriotism for those Americans who might not have even been interested in the race in the first place.

No matter the reason, one thing is definitely certain about The Tour de France: it’s not a sporting event for the faint of heart to participate in, and anyone watching has to give a whole lot of kudos to anyone strong–or crazy–enough to decide they’re ready to take on the mountains and the landscape of France for three weeks at a time, with only a bicycle.

Damian Papworth, an enthusiastic cyclist understands how crucial hydration is in the sport, at all levels. As such, he published the Cycling Water Bottle website, offering free advice on bicycle water bottles

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Papworth, Damian "The Tour De France: The Most Famous Bicycle Race In The World." The Tour De France: The Most Famous Bicycle Race In The World. 7 Oct. 2010. uberarticles.com. 30 Sep 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/cycling/the-tour-de-france-the-most-famous-bicycle-race-in-the-world/>.

APA Style Citation:
Papworth, D (2010, October 7). The Tour De France: The Most Famous Bicycle Race In The World. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/cycling/the-tour-de-france-the-most-famous-bicycle-race-in-the-world/

Chicago Style Citation:
Papworth, Damian "The Tour De France: The Most Famous Bicycle Race In The World" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/cycling/the-tour-de-france-the-most-famous-bicycle-race-in-the-world/


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