It's here....the 2018 Tour de France kids guide
The Tour de France is probably the worlds most famous cycle race. It's fast, it's furious and it's a brilliant great way to get into bikes and cycling. To get in the mood and give you a taste of the excitement we've put together a family friendly Tour de France kids guide to help you and your family get the most out of this years race.
Tour de France kids guide - the basics
The Tour de France takes place over 23 days and covers over 2,000 miles. Each year the race takes a different route, but the finish is always in Paris with a magnificent sprint down the Champs-Élysées.
Although named the Tour de France, the race sometimes ventures into other countries such as Belgium, Italy and Spain. In previous years, stages have been held in Britain.
For 2018 however, except for a short visit of around 15 kilometres in Spain during stage 16, the 105th Tour de France will never go out of the borders of France. The cyclists will ride through 36 “départements” (the equivalent of British counties).
Each day of the race is known as a 'Stage', and Stages can last up to six hours. At the end of each day the rider who crosses the finish line first is the 'Stage Winner' and gets to go up onto the podium.
In total, there are 21 stages over the 23 days, so the riders only get two rest days over the whole race! The lead rider gets to wear the yellow jersey, which we will explain a bit more in a moment.
The 2018 Tour de France
In 2018 the Tour de France starts on Saturday 7th July in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île and the cyclists will ride 189 km on the first day to Fontenay-le-Comteat Vendée. These are in Pays de la Loire, which is on the western coast of France, so the stage will be flat.
The first Stage of the Tour de France is called Le Grande Départ, and there are usually big parties held to celebrate.
This year the Tour de France riders will cycle 3,329 km (just over 2,000 miles) over 21 Stages. There are 8 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 6 mountain stages and 2 time trial stages. There are also 2 rest days.
On two days the riders and their bikes have to fly across France to get from the end of one stage to the start of the next.
This year the Tour de France final stage is on Sunday 29th July 2018, in Paris.
A few interesting Tour de France facts
- The first Tour de France race was held in 1903.
- The youngest rider ever to win the Tour de France was Henri Comet - he was only 19 years old when he won in 1904.
- The oldest person to win the Tour de France was Firmin Lambot, who was 36 years old when he won in 1922.
- It is expected that around 15 million spectators will line the route of this years tour.
In 2017 the Tour de France was won by British rider Chris Froome from Team Sky. This was the fourth time he had won the race (he also won in 2013, 2015 and 2016), and only the fifth time a Briton had ever won the Tour de France (Bradley Wiggins was the first in 2012).
We've got lots more interesting Tour de France facts for kids if you click on the link - find out why the 100th Tour de France didn't take place 100 years after the 1st race, what the last rider in the race is called, and whether women can race in the Tour de France.
Tour de France Kids Guide - the Jersey's
The Stage Winner is not the only rider who gets to go on the podium each day. There are other winners too, with each getting to wear a special cycling top known as a 'Jersey'. The Jersey is made of a special material that keeps the rider cool, so it's not made of thick wool like a jersey you may wear in winter. Every year there is a slightly different pattern on the jersey - for 2018 the influence is the artist Mondrian. You can just see a block of slightly darker yellow on the jersey below.
TdF yellow jersey
Each day, the cyclist with the quickest overall time from the very start of the first day of the race, gets to wear the prestigious Yellow Jersey, or the 'Maillot Jaune' in French.
So how do they work out who gets to wear the yellow jersey? When a cyclist crosses the finish line their time is recorded, and this is their time for that day (stage). At the end of each day, the cyclists have all of their stage times from the start of the race added up. The cyclist with the quickest overall time from the start is awarded the yellow jersey to wear on the next stage.
Tour de France race winner
The overall winner of the Tour de France is the rider with the quickest time for all the stages put together. It is possible for a rider who has not been in the lead, and never worn the yellow jersey, to win the overall Tour de France by cycling very fast on the last day. This has only happened twice so far - in 1947 and 1968. There are also other competitions within the Tour de France. At the end of each stage the leaders of each competition are also given a special jersey to wear - it is good fun trying to spot all the jerseys every day.
TdF green Jersey
In French this is known as the 'maillot vert', and is worn by the best sprinter and time trialist. At the end of each stage points are given out to the riders. More points are given out for flat stages than mountain stages, and lots of extra points can be won for winning smaller sprint races within a stage. The Green Jersey is sometimes known as the Sprinters Jersey. Points can be taken off a rider if they do something wrong.
TdF polka dot jersey
The best climber, or the 'King of the Mountains' wears the polka dot jersey. It is white with red dots, and is known as 'malliot a pois rouges' in French. The King of the Mountains is the rider who has the most points from the mountain stages, and the steeper the mountain, the more points a rider can get. Each year the jersey design changes slightly. This year the TdF jersey's all have a blue, white and red stripe down the back, which you can see on the back of this King of the Mountain jersey.
Tour de France white jersey
This is given to the best young rider (under 26 years old) overall, and in French is known as 'le maillot blanc'.
If you want to know more about the different TdF jersey's and where you can buy kids sized Tour de France replica jersey's, check out our Kids Guide to Tour de France Jersey colours. We hope you've found this article interesting. To keep up to date on the latest news and views about kids bikes and family cycling, please follow Cycle Sprog on Facebook or on Instagram THANKS! To help kids of all ages enjoy the Tour de France, we've written a series of kids guides to the Tour de France - we hope you find them useful.
Other pages you may find useful:
This Tour de France Kids Guide was first published in 2012 and has been updated for the 2018 Tour de France.
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