The Tour de France in Numbers

A mobile village of 4,500 people following 22 teams of 9 cyclists covering more than 3,000km – it must be the Tour de France. 

The peloton during the Grand Départ in Brest in 2008. Photo: Sylvain Elies

The peloton during the Grand Départ in Brest in 2008. Photo: Sylvain Elies

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The Route

– A total mileage of 3,500km must not be exceeded
– The Tour has 21 days’ racing, with 2 days compulsory rest days
– 225km can only be exceeded on two stages
– There are usually 2 time trial stages
– 250 towns apply each year to host a stage of the Tour
– A ‘mobile village of 4,500 cyclists, organisers, technical staff and publicity caravan workers follow the whole route

 

The publicity caravan cools spectators in Paris during the final stage of the 2010 Tour. Photo: Frans de Wit

The publicity caravan cools spectators in Paris during the final stage of the 2010 Tour.
Photo: Frans de Wit

The Publicity Caravan

– The caravan first appeared in 1930
– 39% of spectators say they turn up to watch the Tour de France for the caravan, rather than for the cycling
– It’s a 20km long parade that takes 45-minutes to pass – considerably longer than the split-second whirl of the peloton
– 16 million freebies – everything from hats and T-shirts to samples of washing detergent – are thrown from it each year
– 33 advertisers spend between €200,000 and €500,000 to secure their spot
– 160 decorated cars, trucks and vans – carrying some 600 people in total – are involved

The Media

– 650 newspapers, websites, TV and radio stations cover the Tour de France using more than 2,500 journalists, photographers, cameramen and consultants, as well as some 1,800 technicians, helicopter pilots and drivers
– 260 cameramen and women follow the Tour for 121 TV channels
– The Tour is broadcast – either live or in highlights packages – in 186 countries.

See our guide to watching the Tour de France, our must-read Tour de France books and, for those new to the race, our beginner's guide.

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