- Awards Season
- Big Stories
- Pop Culture
- Video Games
7 Exciting Facts About the Tour de France, and Where to Stream the Race
Lasting nearly three weeks and involving several hundred competitors, the Tour de France is one of the biggest sporting events across the globe — and in the world of cycling, it’s definitely the biggest. This much-anticipated annual race faced some setbacks during the COVID-19 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 competition) are eager for the big return slated for this summer.
In honor of the Tour de France’s grand 2021 re-entry to the sporting universe on Saturday, June 26, we’re taking a look at some fun facts that’ll get your anticipation building even more. Plus, you’ll discover where and how you can watch every minute of the race from the comfort of home — no cleats or helmet necessary.
Thousands of People Are Involved
You might already know that a bevy of bicyclists participate in the race — 198 riders spread across 22 different teams compete each year. But the number of people involved in ensuring the race goes off without a hitch is much higher 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 least — can run into the millions . From city to city along the race route, hundreds upon hundreds of people follow the action throughout the course of the event. And organizers and support staff keep things running smoothly to the finish line.
The Race Has a Surprising Connection to a Newspaper
The first Tour de France wasn’t held because a bunch of bicycling fans got together and thought it’d be a great idea to start a competition — at least not totally. It was actually a promotional event hosted with the intention of bringing more publicity to L’Auto , 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, L’Equipe , continues to organize the Tour de France today.
It’s Not Just Big, but Also Long
And it’s long in multiple ways, too. The race itself takes place over the course of nearly a month, with 21 different day-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 pass through multiple neighboring countries. It wasn’t even always this short, either — in 1926, the course encompassed a winding 3,570 miles and took a full month for riders to finish.
Different Jerseys Mean Different Things
As you watch the race, you’ll notice cyclists wearing the bright kits and bibs that represent their teams — but you’ll also spot some even more unique colors and designs among the pack. One of these is a yellow jersey, called the “maillot jaune,” that’s bestowed upon the racer who had the lowest cumulative ride time for the day. Other special jerseys include the green “maillot vert,” which is awarded to the rider with the most points, and the “maillot a pois” — a red and white polka-dotted jersey given to the cyclist who earns the most points during the areas of the course that have steep inclines to climb. The rider who wears the maillot a pois is affectionately known as “the king of the mountain.”
There Was Almost Only One Tour de France
The first Tour de France took place in 1903 – and that was almost 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 only of the fans but also of the competitors in the 1903 race that he wanted to discontinue it despite its clear appeal. Boisterous crowds turned violent, with spectators assaulting racers as they passed along the course. The riders themselves found numerous ways to cheat, disqualifying themselves in the process. But the Tour de France was so lauded — and it increased circulation of L’Auto so extensively — that the organizers had no choice but to continue hosting the event.
The Race Has Its Own Language
Bonking, anyone? As you’re watching the Tour de France, you might hear commentators use some curious turns of phrase — and many of them will be unique to the race itself. Boost your bicycling know-how by learning what these terms mean 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 too wiped to continue.
- Peloton: No, it’s not the fancy exercise bike you bought during the pandemic. In Tour de France context, a peloton is the main group of riders where most of the participants are cycling together.
- Sag Wagon: If someone bonks, they may need the assistance of the sag wagon. This is a car that follows the pack of cyclists and picks up those who become too fatigued or injured to keep riding.
- Musket Bag: While it may sound like something you’d find at a Civil War battleground, a musket bag is sort of like a bagged lunch — but it’s packed with energy gels, water, sandwiches and other fuel for the cyclists. It’s also called a “musette” or, sometimes, a “bonk bag.”
- Lanterne Rouge: In French, this term means “red light,” and it refers to the cyclist who’s in the very last place in the race. Being in this position gets riders ample attention, and those who know they won’t win sometimes compete for this distinction instead.
You Can Watch the Action at Home — Here’s How
Now that the race has returned to regularly scheduled programming in 2021 following its 2020 pandemic postponement, you might be eager to catch the three-week racing saga unfold from the comfort of home. Fortunately, you have the convenient option to stream the tour live on both NBC Sports and NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
The race coverage on Peacock is only available through Peacock Premium, a paid tier of the service that costs $4.99 — a worthwhile investment if you’re a serious cycling fan who can’t wait to watch this Grand Tour. NBC Sports is accessible if you’re already paying for regular cable, but without that subscription you won’t be able to stream the program online or watch it on TV unless you spring for Peacock.
Keep in mind that, if you’re not already a Peacock subscriber, you’ll receive a free weeklong trial to better help you determine if the service is right for you. You can use that to catch up on the race and decide if you want to make the month-long (or longer) investment.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
- stay informed: subscribe to the newsletter of this website
- Latest photos on this site:
- Useful > Reminder service (receive a reminder of all cycling races) > This calendar on your website?
- Search engine calendar --all calendars-- Africa Tour America Tour Asia Tour Europe Tour Oceania Tour UCI WorldTour World Championships country --all countries-- Albania Algeria Andorra Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahrain Belarus Belgium Benin Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Brasil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Cambodia Cameroon Canada Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Czech Republic Denmark Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia France Gabon Germany Great Britain Greece Guatemala Hong Kong Hungary India Indonesia Iran Ireland Israel Italy Ivory Coast Jamaica Japan Kazakhstan Korea Kosovo Kuwait Latvia Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Malawi Malaysia Mali Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Montenegro Morocco Netherlands New Zealand Norway Oman Pakistan Panama Paraguay Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Romania Russia Rwanda Saudi Arabia Scotland Senegal Serbia Slovakia Slovenia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Thailand The Netherlands/Belgium Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Ukraine United Arab Emirates United States of America Uruguay Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam class --all classes-- 1.1 1.2 1.2U 1.HC 1.Ncup 1.Pro 1.UWT 2.1 2.2 2.2U 2.HC 2.Ncup 2.Pro 2.UWT CC CDM CM HIS UPT UWT > Complete search engine
- Calendars > 2024 Africa Tour > 2024 America Tour > 2024 Asia Tour > 2024 Europe Tour > 2024 Oceania Tour > 2024 UCI ProSeries > 2024 UCI World Championships > 2024 UCI WorldTour > 2023 Africa Tour > 2023 America Tour > 2023 Asia Tour > 2023 Europe Tour > 2023 Oceania Tour > 2023 UCI ProSeries > 2023 UCI World Championships > 2023 UCI WorldTour > 2022 Africa Tour > 2022 America Tour > 2022 Asia Tour > 2022 Europe Tour > 2022 Oceania Tour > 2022 UCI ProSeries > 2022 UCI World Championships > 2022 UCI WorldTour > 2021 Africa Tour > 2021 America Tour > 2021 Asia Tour > 2021 Europe Tour > 2021 Oceania Tour > 2021 UCI ProSeries > 2021 UCI WorldTour > 2020 Africa Tour > 2020 America Tour > 2020 Asia Tour > 2020 Europe Tour > 2020 Oceania Tour > 2020 UCI ProSeries > 2020 UCI WorldTour > 2019 Africa Tour > 2019 America Tour > 2019 Asia Tour > 2019 Europe Tour > 2019 Oceania Tour > 2019 UCI WorldTour > 2019 World Championships > 2018 Africa Tour > 2018 America Tour > 2018 Asia Tour > 2018 Europe Tour > 2018 Oceania Tour > 2018 UCI WorldTour > 2018 World Championships > 2017 Africa Tour > 2017 America Tour > 2017 Asia Tour > 2017 Europe Tour > 2017 Oceania Tour > 2017 UCI WorldTour > 2017 World Championships > 2016 Africa Tour > 2016 America Tour > 2016 Asia Tour > 2016 Europe Tour > 2016 Oceania Tour > 2016 UCI WorldTour > 2016 World Championships > 2015 Africa Tour > 2015 America Tour > 2015 Asia Tour > 2015 Europe Tour > 2015 Oceania Tour > 2015 UCI WorldTour > 2015 World Championships > 2014 Africa Tour > 2014 America Tour > 2014 Asia Tour > 2014 Europe Tour > 2014 Oceania Tour > 2014 UCI WorldTour > 2014 World Championships > 2013 Africa Tour > 2013 America Tour > 2013 Asia Tour > 2013 Europe Tour > 2013 Oceania Tour > 2013 UCI WorldTour > 2013 World Championships > 2012 Africa Tour > 2012 America Tour > 2012 Asia Tour > 2012 Europe Tour > 2012 Oceania Tour > 2012 Olympic Games > 2012 UCI WorldTour > 2012 World Championships > 2011 Africa Tour > 2011 America Tour > 2011 Asia Tour > 2011 Europe Tour > 2011 Oceania Tour > 2011 World calendar
- So you won't miss anything > Subscribe to this blog's newsletter ! > Use this site's RSS feeds !
- Tour de France
- Giro d'Italia
- La Vuelta ciclista a España
- World Championships
- Amstel Gold Race
- Il Lombardia
- La Flèche Wallonne
- Paris - Nice
- Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
- Critérium du Dauphiné
- Tour des Flandres
- Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields
- Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián
- Intermarché - Circus - Wanty
- INEOS Grenadiers
- Groupama - FDJ
- EF Education-EasyPost
- BORA - hansgrohe
- Bahrain - Victorious
- Astana Qazaqstan Team
- Movistar Team
- Soudal - Quick Step
- Team Arkéa Samsic
- Team Jayco AlUla
- Trek - Segafredo
- UAE Team Emirates
- AG2R Citroën Team
- Grand tours
- Countdown to 2 billion pageviews
- Profile Score
- Medal ranking
- National champions
- Coupe de France (France)
- Topcompetitie (Netherlands)
- U23 Road Series (NL/BE)
- Copa de España (Spain)
- Rad-Bundesliga (Germany)
- British National Road Series (GB)
- Taça de Portugal (POR)
- NorgesCup (Norway)
- Championships - Championships
- National - National
- upcoming pro-races
- Year 2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969 1968 1967 1966 1965 1964 1963 1962 1961 1960 1959 1958 1957 1956 1955 1954 1953 1952 1951 1950 1949 1948 1947 1946 1945 1944 1943 1942 1941 1940 1939 1938 1937 1936 1935 1934 1933 1932 1931 1930 1929 1928 1927 1926 1925 1924 1923 1922 1921 1920 1919 1918 1917 1916 1915 1914 1913 1912 1911 1910 1909 1908 1907 1906 1905 1904 1903 1902 1901 1900 1899 1898 1897 1896 1895 1894 1893 1892 1891 1890 1889 1888 1887 1886 1885 1884 1883 1881 1880 1879 1876
- UCI Tour - UCI Worldtour UCI World Championships Men Junior Women Elite Women Junior National Championship WWT Europe Tour Africa Tour Asia Tour Oceania Tour America Tour UCI ProSeries Nations Cup
- Classification - 1.1 1.2 1.2U 1.Ncup 1.Pro 1.UWT 1.WWT 2.1 2.2 2.2U 2.Ncup 2.Pro 2.UWT 2.WWT CC JC JR NC WC
- WT Calendar
- Start/finish schedule
- Upcoming races
- Latest results
- Races database
- Races/stages database
- Calendar changes
- Upcoming TTs
- Cancelled races
- Cancelled rescheduled races
- Rescheduled races
- Top-100 riders program changes
- Startlist changes
- Startlist quality
- LiveStats schedule
- Vuelta a España
- Volta a Catalunya
- Tour de Romandie
- Tour de Suisse
- Itzulia Basque Country
- Ronde van Vlaanderen
- European championships
- Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
- Strade Bianche
- Dwars door vlaanderen
- San Sebastian
- Bretagne Classic
- GP Montréal
- Tadej Pogačar
- Wout van Aert
- Remco Evenepoel
- Jonas Vingegaard
- Mathieu van der Poel
- Biniam Girmay
- Peter Sagan
- Annemiek van Vleuten
- Elisa Longo Borghini
- Katarzyna Niewiadoma
- Points per age
- Latest injuries
- Youngest riders
- Grand tour statistics
- Monument classics
- Latest transfers
- Favorite 500
- PCS ranking
- UCI World Ranking
- Points scales
- Profile scores
- Reset password
- Pageload 0.0716s
Cycling Calendar 2023
Click on the links in underneath scheme for more information.
Is there a reason why the Tour of Pologne (Poland) is not included in this list?
We don’t cover the Tour de Pologne. That’s why it’s not included in our calendar.
The biggest cycling event ever
Over 200 Rainbow Jerseys awarded. 11 incredible days of competition. Thank you, Scotland, for making the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships incredible!
- Medals Table The final medal table from the Championships.
- Schedule & Results The full run down of every result.
- Live Blog Relive every incredible moment on our blog!
- News Find out all the latest news from the Champs!
200+ Rainbow Jerseys
Many will fall. Heroes will rise. Fewer still will be crowned champion.
13 World Championships
Featuring across 7 disciplines in Glasgow and across Scotland.
11 Days of action
The biggest cycling event ever staged will take place from 3 - 13 August.
Bag a bargain on our shop!
About the 2023 uci cycling world championships.
In the first event of its kind - never seen nor cycled before - the world’s greatest riders came together in Glasgow and across Scotland, 3-13 August 2023 to compete at the highest level over 13 UCI World Championships!
Get the Official Programme digital copy
About BMX Freestyle Park
Where ordinary cyclists see obstacles, BMX Freestylers see opportunities. They fly superhero-high off ramps, ride on walls and flip the script of what’s possible on a bike every time they ride.
05 - 07 August 2023
Find out more
About BMX Freestyle Flatland
Imagine parkour combined with breakdancing… on a bike. That’s BMX Flatland. Riders have nothing but their bike and the blank canvas of a smooth surface to style and spin their way to a mesmerising medal-worthy routine that you have to see to believe.
08 - 10 August 2023
About BMX Racing
The goal of BMX Racing is simple: cross the finish line first. But that’s easier said than done with eight riders and a complex course of high speed curves, big bumps and even bigger jumps between the start gate and gold medal glory.
06 - 09, 12 - 13 August 2023
About Gran Fondo
Gran Fondo (which translates as Big Race) is a long-distance mass participation event that celebrates competitive cycling for everyone, not just the professionals.
04, 07 August 2023
About Indoor Cycling
Whether it’s goals galore in Cycle Ball or maximum points scored in Artistic cycling, the atmosphere will be electric in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, so make sure you’re there to cheer on your side.
11 - 13 August 2023
About Mountain Bike Cross-country
After a massive crowd of riders pours off the start line, rough terrain, steep slopes and mud-based mayhem is the order of the day as they jostle for position, biding their time to attack in sprint finishes that separate the wannabes from the medal winners.
08 - 12 August 2023
About Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon
Riders will be pushed to the limit of human capability as they chew through 100km of road, gravel, punishing climbs, long descents and inhuman levels of lactic acid.
06 August 2023
About Mountain Bike Downhill
It’s all downhill in Fort William where riders take on jumps, bumps, berms and rock gardens against the clock at white-knuckle speeds of up to 80km/h. The most fearless will bomb their runs. Others will bail. Only the fastest will win the Rainbow Jersey.
03 - 05 August 2023
About Para-Cycling Road
This is where the rubber meets the road for the world’s fastest and most fearless para-cyclists.
Every mile matters in ruthless contests of speed, stamina and guts. Smart racing will win the day as riders battle for every tactical advantage that will take them to gold medal glory.
09 - 13 August 2023
About Para-Cycling Track
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be a cauldron of noise, tension and kinetic energy as riders reach warp speeds as they race for a place in the record books.
03 - 08 August 2023
The rules of the road are simple: fastest wins. Pace setting, strategically timed attacks and gutsy breakaways will separate the race leaders from the pack on the high-speed hills, thrills and spills of Scotland’s most challenging roads.
05 - 06, 08 - 13 August 2023
Eleven events will be contested at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, each of them a unique challenge of power, poise, strategy and stamina.
Riders have to give everything they’ve got for every advantage because fractions of a second will determine who gets to go home a hero.
03 - 09 August 2023
Riders hop, hook and wheel jump their way up, down and over purpose-built obstacles designed to test the extremes of bicycle-based agility and technical skill.
09 - 12 August 2023
100 Days On
New Fans, New Experiences Inspired by the Power of the Bike. 100 days on: Reflections on 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships
News article 21 November 2023
Community Cycling Fund
Following a series of funding awards, the Scottish Borders Community Cycling Fund still has money available
Access All Awards - Diversity and Inclusion
2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Scoop Access All Areas Diversity and Inclusion Award
News article 20 November 2023
New Cycling Routes Launched
Five new cycling routes have been mapped by Sustrans Scotland to capitalise on the legacy of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
News article 25 October 2023
2023 The Herald & GenAnalytics Diversity Awards 2023 - Results
2023 UCI Cycling World Championships have been named winners of the Diversity by Design Award and the Diversity in Sport Award.
News article 13 October 2023
Scotland is Bikeland
Discover Scotland... or should that be Bikeland? From mountainous roads to world class trails, there's something for every cyclist.
Explore the venues for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, from a state-of-the-art velodrome, to a trails wonderland.
Discover all Scotland has to offer with our partners, Visit Scotland!