An international petelon of world-class bikers embark on the road to Tour de France glory when the historic 104th edition of the Tour de France kicks off on Saturday, July 1, 2017.
The race will begin with an individual time trial in Düsseldorf on 1 July.
In total, it will be a grueling 21 stages over 3,600 kilometers before riders reach the traditional big finish at the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday, July 23, 2017.
As always, the 2017 Tour de France will cover a route ranging from pleasantly flat to treacherously steep and mountainous. That includes an infamous muscle-burning climb through Mont Ventoux.
The traditional muscle-burning climb up Mount Ventoux during Tour de France 2017.
2017 Tour de France on TV
In the U.S. cable channel NBC Sports Network is the official broadcaster throughout the race with live television coverage of the dramatic mountain stages on network NBC.
Across the pond, ITV4 usually airs live coverage in the UK from every stage of the tour. Elsewhere in Europe, Eurosport covers the race from start to finish, while in Australia live coverage and next-day highlights are regularly featured on SBS.
All about the Tour de France
Maurice Garin was the winner
in the first race held in 1903.
The first Tour de France was arranged by French newspaperman Henri Desgrange as a publicity stunt for his paper, L'Auto in 1903. The race featured 60 riders covering more than a 1,000 miles. that proved highly popular among spectators along the route .The race was also a huge success for L'Auto whose circulation rose from 25,000 to 65,000 that year.
Except for two World Wars, the Tour de France has been held almost every year since.
While spectacular scandals have rocked the race of late (see: Lance Armstrong), the Tour de France has been no stranger to poor sportsmanship over the years. In fact, during the early days rampant cheating was common -- along with sporadic riots among spectators who often favored one rider over another.
Today, almost 200 riders make up the 22 teams that participate in the world's biggest annual sporting event covering some 2,000 miles. Throughout the race's 21 stages, the strongest rider is protected by other members of the team through stretches of terrain that vary greatly from flat, to hilly, to extremely steep and mountainous.
Color-coded jerseys signify top racers during the Tour de France, including white for a young emerging star,
red polka dot for the best uphill biker, green for the fastest sprinter, and yellow for the overall leader.
Along the way, riders are rewarded with color-coded jerseys with special significance. The green jersey signifies who's the fastest sprinter. The white jersey goes to the youngest biker, usually an emerging star under 25. The red-and-white polka dot jersey is awarded to the "King of the Mountain" or best uphill climber. Near the end of the race, the overall leader in total time gets to wear the coveted yellow jersey and to ultimately claim victory -- and the €450,000 euro prize money -- as he crosses the finish line in Paris.
de France around the Web
the Web, get the complete picture of this year's annual Tour de France
with video presentations, photos, up-to-the-minute blog
reports, and more on Tour de France stats, records and history
de France 2016 - The complete route map, news flashes
in real time, plus updated classifications, positions, gaps between
the riders, video and photos of the competition. In English and