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 your child into bikes, cycling and competitive racing. 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 is a cycling road race that makes the competitors race over many days on a variety of different routes from fast and flat to extremely steep mountains.
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.
The lead rider gets to wear the yellow jersey, which we will explain a bit more in a moment.
For many years there has only been a men’s race, but thankfully things have changed and there is now going to a women’s Tour de France in 2022.
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The 2022 Men’s Tour de France
The 109th Men’s Tour de France will start on Friday 1st July 2022 with the Grand Depart taking place from Copenhagen (in Denmark – not France!).
It’s unusual for the race to start on a Friday – Cycle Sprogs may have to rush home from school to watch this Time Trial stage.
The men’s race takes place over 23 days and covers over 2,000 miles.
Each year the race takes a different route, but ever since 1975 the Men’s Tour de France finish has always been in Paris with a magnificent sprint down the Champs-Élysées.
The start of the race is a major event and cities compete to host it. This event is known as the Grand Départ.
In total, there are 21 stages over the 23 days, so the riders only get two rest days over the whole race!
Whilst it’s called the Tour de France, it now common for some of the stages to be held in other countries.
There will be three stages in Denmark, plus stages that pass through Belgium (Stage 6) and Switzerland (Stages 8 and 9), meaning the riders will race in four different countries in this years Tour de France.
During the 2022 Men’s Tour de France riders will cycle 3,328 km (2,068 mi) over 21 Stages. They will compete in:
- 6 flat stages
- 3 hilly stages
- 4 medium mountain stages
- 6 mountain stages
- 2 individual time-trial stages
- 3 rest / travel days
On the first Monday the riders and their teams will have to pack up all their bikes and equipment and travel from Copenhagen to Calais.
On the second to last day of the Tour the riders and their bikes have to fly across France to get from the mountains to Paris for the final day and the winners presentation.
This year the Men’s Tour de France final stage is on Sunday 24th July 2022, in Paris.
How to watch the 2022 Men’s Tour de France on UK TV
You can watch every second of the race live on TV (if you have time!) on ITV 4 and Eurosport 1.
It’s also live streamed on the ITV Hub, the Eurosport website and GCN+ if you’re watching on demand.
The main excitement tends to happen towards the end of the race, so tuning in about 3.30pm is a good idea if you want to catch the race to the finish line, which usually happens around 4pm UK time.
At Chez Cycle Sprog there’s often a mad dash home from school and a scramble to get the TV on. This is followed by either groans of disappointment if the race has just finished, or (more happily) yelps of excitement if the riders are just approaching the finish line!
There’s also catch up programmes every evening on ITV4, EuroSport 1 and GCN+. These Tour de France highlights shows condense things down to just the exciting bits (warning – there can be LOTS of very boring bits in the Tour de France, although the commentary is usually quite entertaining!)
The highlight show may be a bit late for younger Cycle Sprogs, but you can always watch a day in arrears on the ITV Hub if they’re really keen!
We sometimes buy the ITV Hub Ad-Free upgrade for this purpose and cancel after a month to avoid having to sit through loads of adverts at the start. GCN+ also allows ad free viewing although it’s a bit more expensive.
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, 352 days when he won the second ever Tour in 1904.
- The youngest winner in the modern era was Tadej Pogačar who won the 2020 Tour aged 21 years, 364 days
- The oldest person to win the Tour de France was Firmin Lambot, who was 36 years old when he won in 1922.
- The yellow jersey, worn by the overall ride leader each day, was first introduced on 19 July 1919. The first rider to wear one was Eugène Christophe, who led the general classification until the day before the finish – he must have been annoyed to loose it at the last minute!
The 2021 winner was 22 year old Tadej Pogačar – who also won in 2020. He rides for team UAE Team Emirates. This is was an incredible back to back win for such a young rider, and the first Slovenian winner of Le Tour.
A British rider had never won the Tour de France until 2012 when Bradley Wiggins won, riding for Team Sky. This started a really successful period for Team Sky and their British riders, with Chris Froome winning four times in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Geraint Thomas made it 6 British / Team Sky wins in 7 years when he won in 2018.
In 2019 Sky stopped sponsoring bike racing, so Geraint Thomas and his team mates now ride for Ineos Grenadiers, who are sponsored by a chemical company called Ineos.
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.
Women’s Tour de France 2022
2022 is a really exciting year, as it’s the launch of Tour de France Femme – a bike race for women. For many years the men who organised the Tour de France thought that it should be a men’s only race.
In 2014 they launched a one day women’s race called Le Course. This was better than nothing, but female cyclists felt it wasn’t really a proper Tour de France, as it was held on the same day as one of the men’s stages, and didn’t really get much attention.
Thankfully the organisers of the Tour de France have finally realised that female cyclists should have their own race – about time!
The Tour de France Femme 2022 will have 8 stages over 1,029 km (639 miles) and start on Sunday 24th July 2022. The riders will race over 8 stages:
2 flat stages
2 hilly stages
2 medium-mountain stages
2 mountain stages.
The race will finish on Sunday 31st July 2022 in the French Alps.
How to watch the 2022 Women’s Tour de France on UK TV
The Women’s Tour de France Femme will be shown live on the following channels: Eurosport, GCN+ and Discovery +
The good news is that most Cycle Sprogs will be on their school holidays for the entire race, so you can really enjoy watching a lot of the coverage of this race and cheer on your favourite
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 – you can read more about this years yellow jersey designs here.
Who gets to wear the 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.
Would you like to wear a yellow jersey? You can buy a kids yellow jersey here.
How do they work out who is the 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 of the competition. T
his 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.
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 / Queen 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 or Queen 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.
If you’re a good at climbing hills on your bike you can buy a kids size King / Queen of the Mountains jersey here.
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.
Other pages you may find useful:
- The best kids road bikes
- Kids Tour de France yellow jersey review (and KoM!)
- Tour de France facts for kids – become an expert on the worlds greatest cycle race!
- Kids guide to Tour de France jersey colours
- What’s it like going on a Tour de France family holiday?
- Tour de France kids activities
- Family cycling in the Alps – a fun downhill ride from Col du Lautaret to Briançon
- The best road racing bikes for kids (with 20″ wheels)
- The best road racing bikes for kids – 24″ wheels
This Tour de France Kids Guide was first published in 2012 and has been updated for the 2022 Tour de France.
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