The Tour de France is an annual cycling race that takes place throughout the country. It’s known as the world’s most prestigious and toughest cycling race and features some of the best endurance athletes in the world. The Tour has taken place every year since 1903, aside from multi-year breaks during the two world wars (like the Olympics). This post shows the countries with the most Tour de France Victories.
It’s interesting to note that the Tour began in 1903 as a way to increase readership for a new sporting focused newspaper, L’Auto. L’Auto sprung from the politically fracturing event of the infamous Dreyfus Affair. Alfred Dreyfus was a French officer who was convicted – then later exonerated – of selling military secrets to Germany.
The new paper was meant to be a rival to the best selling sporting newspaper of the day, Le Vélo. L’Auto was not nearly as popular as hoped and struggled to gain traction. In a last ditch effort to spur growth, a new cycling race throughout France was proposed.
Countries with the Most Tour de France Victories
It was to be a grand affair and one of the toughest races ever put together. Elite riders signed on to race in this new competition. Composing of 6 stages and 1,500 miles, each stage lasted days and featured night riding. In addition, all riders were on their own and had to carry their own supplies for maintenance. The first race ended 19 days after it began, with Maurice Garin from France emerging the winner. The Tour was a smashing success that doubled the sales of L’Auto.
After the first race the Tour has evolved into the modern version known today. Night riding was eliminated and mountain stages added in among many other changes. The modern version features 21 stages over 23 days with a grueling 2,200 miles around France.
Over the years French riders have accumulated the most victories with 36 total. Belgium (18), Spain (12) and Italy (10) are the other other countries with double digit victories. It should be noted that the US only has 3 victories as the 7 consecutive victories by Lance Armstrong from 1999-2005 were stripped after his admitted doping scandal.