The world’s most prestigious cycling race is going to be departing from Florence on June 29th, and will finish on July 21st in Nice, France.

What is the tour de france?

Every year, 20 to 22 teams, each with eight riders, compete in the Tour de France. The first Tour de France had been staged in 1903 when the length of the race had only been 19 days, from July 1st to July 19th, compared to the now 23 days. Historically, the length used to be 2,428 Kilometers, but now it is 3,500 kilometers. While the route and length change slightly every year, the format of the race stay the same. Throughout the race, there are 21 day-long cycling days over a 23 day period, the first of which takes place from Florence to Rimini, a town on the east coast of Italy. Following this stage there are two more stages in Italy before moving into France.

This summer of 2024 is the first time the Tour de France has ever started in Italy in it’s 121 years of history. Historically, the Tour de France has been played 25 other times outside of the country, the first being in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1954.

Fun facts about the history of the tour de france

  • The first Tour de France was in 1903, sponsored by a French sports newspaper who wanted to get more views, called L’Auto. An editor and reporter at this newspaper wanted to improve circulation of the newspaper, so they created the Tour de France. Hstorically, bicycle races had usually started and finished in one day, as did one of the races L’Auto’s competitors started. To outdo the competition, Pierre Giffard, the lead editor at L’Auto, had launched the longest race of all time, with the initial publication title of “The Tour de France, the greatest cycle race in the world.”

  • In the first 18 years of the race, L’Auto did not let others cover the race, as they did not see any need to. Eventually in 1921, they gave in and let 15 press cars cover the event.

  • Origionally there had been only six stages for 404 kilometers each, in a 2,428 kilometers long race. As opposed to the now 21 stages for 162 kilometers each, on a race that is 3,401 kilometers long. 
  • The second longest Tour de France route was in 1919, with a length of 5,560, which also was the slowest tour ever, with the least amount of finishers. This race started with 69 racers and only 10 had made it to the finish line. Compared to today, 176 started, and 150 made it to the finish line.


  • Up until 1954, the starting and finishing city of the race had been Paris, with Amsterdam, Netherlands being the first out of country start in Tour de France history.