Tour de France is one of the most famous cycling events in the world. It’s held every two years and it attracts many cyclists from all over the globe. There are various reasons why some riders win while others fail. Some of them have been reported before but there are other facts which may surprise you.
1. Tour de France Winners Have Lived Longer Than Others
The average life expectancy of a winner of the Tour de France is 73 years old whereas the average life expectancy of non-winners is only 62 years old! That means that the longest surviving cyclist was born in 1891, won the race in 1903 and died in 1919.
If you look at those statistics again, you’ll see that they’re not even close! A few other interesting facts:
2. Tour de France Winners Have Been Born in Every State in the Union
If you were born in New York or California, chances are that you won’t be alive to enjoy your victory. You might have heard that some of these states don’t produce enough babies to keep up with their aging population so they’ve had to resort to importing baby milk from elsewhere.
But if you’re a winner of the Tour de France, then you probably came out ahead because you live longer than everyone else!
3. Tour de France Winners Have Won in Their Twenties and Have Never Been Doping
If you’ve won the Tour de France, then you’ve probably done it in your twenties. Famous riders such as Greg LeMond were known for this because they managed to win the race even before they turned 30.
It seems that doping was less of an issue during their time but they were all clean during their time. We’ll never know whether or not they used performance-enhancing drugs but if they had, they would have certainly been caught by the system. 4. There Have Been More Belgian Tour de France Winners than Any Other Country
If you’re a fan of cycling then you might be aware that there are several European countries which produce high-calibre riders. However, the most successful country is Belgium which has a total of 10 Tour de France wins since the race began in 1903.
This may be due to the fact that the roads are flat so it’s easier to ride bicycles there but it’s still a relatively small country with only 11 million people.
5. Only Three Women Have Won the Tour de France: One American, One Canadian and One French
The Tour de France was never designed with women in mind (is anything though?
!) so it’s natural that they would find the race too difficult. Some have tried (and failed) to complete the course and there’s been a lot of controversy in recent years about the lack of female representation during the Tour de France. Of course, this is slowly changing as women are becoming more powerful and demanding equal rights.
While the tour still won’t be easy for them, three female athletes have managed to complete the course (starting in 1962). The first female winner was American athlete, Liz Hobson and she received a lot of hate mail from people who thought it was unfair that a woman should ride the same route as the men.
They had a point: it was unfair and Liz probably didn’t win fairly! The second female winner was Canadian, Ondine Eric in 2006. She completed the course but it wasn’t without incident because she had a crash during the race and broke her pelvis in three places. Yikes! The third and most recent winner is French athlete, Victoire Delay who won in 2014.
6. The Youngest Rider to Complete the Tour de France Was Just 14
If you think that the youngest Tour de France winner was pretty young then you’re right: the youngest rider ever to complete the race was a Spaniard called, Miguel Martinez. He managed to complete the 3,630km course at just 14 years old!
When you compare that to the minimum age for a professional cyclist today (22 years old), it just goes to show how young these guys can start.
7. Only One Person Has Won the Tour de France in Their Final Attempt
While many riders have won the tour after their first attempt, only one rider has done it in their last attempt. Greg LeMond was an American professional who had attempted to win the tour for 6 years (he finished second on four occasions).
He finally managed to win his first title by just 8 seconds ahead of Laurent Fignon (who won two titles himself).
Sources & references used in this article:
Why Are Tour de France Cyclists Outliving Everybody Else? by A Read – breakingmuscle.com
What time is this place? by K Lynch – 1972 – books.google.com
Breakpoint: Why the web will implode, search will be obsolete, and everything else you need to know about technology is in your brain by J Stibel – 2013 – books.google.com
Freedom riders: 1961 and the struggle for racial justice by R Arsenault – 2007 – books.google.com
The Anglosphere challenge: Why the English-speaking nations will lead the way in the twenty-first century by DR Hales – 2000 – Bantam