The longest Tour de France was held in 1926. It was a total of 5,745 km (That’s over 3,500 miles.) according to the Tour’s website. The route traced the borders of France and it was the first time the tour had started outside of Paris.
This year, there will be total prize money of €2.2 million ($3 million), including €450,000 to the overall winner.
It is rumored that earlier tours took competition to entirely ridiculous levels. Many competitors would sprinkle itching powder into their rivals' shorts.
Maurice Garin is known for his 1903 win in the first Tour de France. But he is better known for being stripped of his second title in 1904 for cheating along with the following three competitors. Riders were notorious for cheating. They would get tows from cars, spread broken glass and nails in the road, or spike each other's drinks.
Because the Tour de France offers a grand stage, it is often interrupted by demonstrations. Everything from steel workers striking in 1982, to last week’s topless protest against FGM.
A famous poster from a race in the 1920s shows competitors smoking cigarettes while riding. It is also said that they would fill their water bottles with wine.
Known as the devil or 'El Diablo', Didi Senft, a German bicycle designer, has become an unofficial mascot at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. He has been dressed in his red devil costume since 1993 painting his trident on the road. Senft has also created a number of oversized and eccentric bicycles including one for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The winner of the 1947 tour, Jean Robic, was known for being a good climber but not heavy enough for a good descent. His manager arranged for water bottles full of lead to be given to Robic at the top of climbs to help speed his descent.
Everyone has to pee at some point during over five hours of cycling a day. So competitors have an unwritten agreement to take collective pees so that no one passes anyone else unfairly during the 'pauses pipi'.
The King of the Mountains (leader of performance on mountain climbs) gets to wear the Polka Dot Jersey. The first sponsor of this white jersey with red polka dots, which was introduced in 1975, was a chocolate maker called Poulain, which used red and white for its branding.
Did you know that competitors aren't riding their bikes everywhere? The next day's stage often does not start where the previous one ended. That means riders have to take long drives, boat rides, or trains to the next starting line.