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Lasting nearly three weeks and involving several hundred competitors, the Tour de French republic is 1 of the biggest sporting events across the world — and in the earth of cycling, it’s definitely the biggest. This much-anticipated annual race faced some setbacks during the COVID-nineteen pandemic, and while the world hasn’t returned to normal yet, devoted cycling fans (and those of us who simply love edge-of-our-seats contest) are eager for the big render slated for this summer.

In honor of the Tour de French republic’s grand 2021 re-entry to the sporting universe on Saturday, June 26, nosotros’re taking a await at some fun facts that’ll go your anticipation building even more. Plus, you’ll discover where and how yous can watch every infinitesimal of the race from the comfort of dwelling — no cleats or helmet necessary.

Thousands of People Are Involved

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You lot might already know that a bevy of bicyclists participate in the race — 198 riders spread beyond 22 dissimilar teams compete each year. Simply the number of people involved in ensuring the race goes off without a hitch is much college than the number of athletes participating. Organizers take logistics to the next level with team staff members, members of the race jury, thousands of security professionals and members of the media. If you include the spectators in that count, the numbers — pre-pandemic, at to the lowest degree — can run into the millions. From city to city along the race route, hundreds upon hundreds of people follow the action throughout the grade of the event. And organizers and support staff keep things running smoothly to the finish line.

Photograph Courtesy: Robert Deyrail/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

The first Tour de French republic wasn’t held considering a agglomeration of bicycling fans got together and thought information technology’d be a great idea to start a contest — at least not totally. It was actually a promotional issue hosted with the intention of bringing more publicity to
50’Motorcar, a French newspaper that focused on reporting details about different sporting events. Although
L’Auto has since closed down, the parent company of its replacement,50’Equipe, continues to organize the Tour de France today.

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It’s Not Just Large, but As well Long

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And it’s long in multiple ways, too. The race itself takes identify over the course of nearly a calendar month, with 21 different twenty-four hour period-long segments making up the bulk of the competition. The length of the course is also extensive, however; it’s typically over 2,000 miles long and can laissez passer through multiple neighboring countries. It wasn’t even always this short, either — in 1926, the course encompassed a winding three,570 miles and took a full month for riders to finish.

Different Jerseys Hateful Dissimilar Things

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As you lot watch the race, yous’ll discover cyclists wearing the bright kits and bibs that represent their teams — but y’all’ll also spot some even more than unique colors and designs amid the pack. One of these is a yellow jersey, chosen the “maillot jaune,” that’s bestowed upon the racer who had the lowest cumulative ride time for the day. Other special jerseys include the greenish “maillot vert,” which is awarded to the rider with the most points, and the “maillot a pois” — a carmine and white polka-dotted jersey given to the cyclist who earns the well-nigh points during the areas of the grade that accept steep inclines to climb. The rider who wears the maillot a pois is affectionately known as “the king of the mountain.”

There Was Near Only One Bout de France

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The beginning Tour de France took place in 1903 – and that was nigh the one and only iteration of the race. That’s because newspaper editor Henri Desgrange, who helped organize the initial tour, was so aghast at the conduct not merely of the fans just also of the competitors in the 1903 race that he wanted to discontinue it despite its clear appeal. Bouncy crowds turned violent, with spectators assaulting racers as they passed forth the form. The riders themselves establish numerous ways to cheat, disqualifying themselves in the procedure. But the Tour de France was so lauded — and information technology increased apportionment of
L’Car so extensively — that the organizers had no choice but to continue hosting the outcome.

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The Race Has Its Own Language

Soigneurs set to hand out musette bags with meals during stage fifteen of the 2017 Bout de France. Photo Courtesy: Chris Graythen/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Bonking, anyone? As you’re watching the Tour de France, you might hear commentators use some curious turns of phrase — and many of them volition exist unique to the race itself. Heave your bicycling know-how by learning what these terms hateful before catching one of the race segments:

  • Bonking:
    Cyclists don’t want to “bonk” during this race; it means they’ve run out of energy and are also wiped to go on.
  • Peloton:
    No, it’southward not the fancy exercise bike you bought during the pandemic. In Tour de French republic context, a peloton is the principal group of riders where near of the participants are cycling together.
  • Sag Carriage:
    If someone bonks, they may need the assistance of the sag carriage. This is a car that follows the pack of cyclists and picks upward those who become likewise fatigued or injured to go on riding.
  • Musket Bag:
    While it may sound like something you’d find at a Ceremonious War battlefield, a musket bag is sort of like a bagged dejeuner — but it’s packed with energy gels, water, sandwiches and other fuel for the cyclists. It’due south also called a “musette” or, sometimes, a “bonk bag.”
  • Lanterne Rouge:
    In French this term ways “red light,” and information technology refers to the cyclist who’south in the very terminal place in the race. Existence in this position gets riders ample attention, and those who know they won’t win sometimes compete for this distinction instead.

You Can Scout the Activeness at Home — Hither’s How

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At present that the race has returned to regularly scheduled programming in 2021 following its 2020 pandemic postponement, you might exist eager to catch the three-week racing saga unfold from the comfort of home. Fortunately, yous have the convenient option to stream the tour live on both NBC Sports and NBC’due south Peacock streaming service.

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The race coverage on Peacock is only bachelor through Peacock Premium, a paid tier of the service that costs $4.99 — a worthwhile investment if you lot’re a serious cycling fan who can’t look to watch this Grand Bout. NBC Sports is accessible if you lot’re already paying for regular cable, merely without that subscription you won’t exist able to stream the program online or lookout man it on Boob tube unless you spring for Peacock.

Keep in listen that, if you’re not already a Peacock subscriber, you’ll receive a complimentary weeklong trial to improve help yous make up one’s mind if the service is right for you. You tin use that to catch upwardly on the race and make up one’s mind if you lot want to make the monthlong (or longer) investment.

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