The 100th Tour de France is upon us. Will this be the year where we'll see a Brit on the podium for the second year running? Let's hope so.
The Tour de France is the largest annual sporting event in the world, attracting around 12 million spectators line the route of the race over the three weeks it's held. Millions of cyclists will be glued to the television, lining the roads and offering opinion to their fellow bretheren as the professionals endure one of the hardest sporting events on the planet.
I've compiled 25 interesting, unusual and random facts about the Tour de France for you to impress your friends with when you're out on the bike. 2014 will see the race start in Yorkshire, an exciting time for British Cycling, I wonder if one of our British riders will be aiming for that stage?
25 Tour de France Facts
- The oldest competitor in the 2013 race is German - Jens Voigt - at 41 years old riding for Radioshack-Leopard. He' also the tallest rider in the race at 1.99M.
- The youngest competitor in the 2013 race is 20 year old Aleksey Lutsenko, riding for Astana.
- 22 teams will contest the 2013 race. 19 Proteams and 3 French Pro-Continental teams by invitation.
- The fastest Tour de France ever completed in terms of average speed was recorded in 2005 by now discredited rider - Lance Armstrong - returning 41.654kph over the 3,593km course.
- Belgian Eddy Merckx has ridden in the yellow jersey for more days than anyone else in Tour history, wearing it 111 times.
- The first Tour de France was held in 1903 and won by 32 year old Maurice Garin.
- The 1903 Tour de France was 2,428km long, around two -thirds the distance of the modern day race.
- The youngest winner of the Tour de France was Frenchman - Octave Lapize - who won the 1910 race at the tender age of 21.
- The oldest winner of the Tour de France was 36 year old Belgian - Firmin Lambot - who won the 1922 race at the age of 36. Australian - Cadel Evans - winner of the tour in 2011, was 35.
- The lightest rider in the 2013 race is Venezualan climber - Jose Rujano - at a sprightly 53kg (116 pounds).
- The rider with the most Tour de Frances in his palmares is German Rouler - Jens Voigt, his best result is 26th.
- Groupset share by brand in the 2013 teams. Shimano (12 teams), Campagnolo (6 teams), SRAM (2 teams), Other factory groupsets (2 sets).
- France as a nation have had the most Tour de France victories (36).
- The smallest gap between a winner and second place was 8 seconds between American - Greg Lemond - and Frenchman - Laurent Fignon - in 1989. It was suggested that this was down to the helmet that Lemond wore during the final time trial.
- The youngest ever participant of the tour was Frenchman - Henri Cornet - in 1904, at 20 years old.
- The record for tour appearance goes to Dutchman - Joop Zoetemelk, with 16 appearances.
- Around 3.5bn people watch the Tour de France on the television.
- Belgian Eddy Merckx still holds the record for the most individual stage victories in the history of the race, with 34 to his name.
- Wheelset share by brand in the 2013 teams. Shimano (6 teams), Campagnolo (3 teams), Corima (2 teams), Mavic(3 teams), Zipp (2 teams), Other individual brands (5 teams).
- The longest tour in race history was in 1926, a staggering 5,745km.
- 15 different clothing suppliers are represented by the final line up of 22 teams showing the diversity of manufacturers.
- The largest margin that a tour has been won by is 28 minutes and 17 seconds in 1952, Italian Fausto Coppi took the yellow jersey.
- Around 40,000 bottles containing drinks will be used during the three week race.
- 1919 saw the lowest number of finishers. 10 out of the 69 starters.
- The Tour has its own travelling bank - the only one in France allowed to open on Bastille Day.