Racers from the T-Mobile team lead the pack in this stage of the 2005 Tour de France.
Photograph by Vzach, courtesy Wikimedia. I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

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    On July 1, 1902, bicyclists competed in the first Tour de France race. Today, the Tour de France remains the most prestigious cycling race in the world. 
     
    The Tour de France is a stage race, meaning the race is divided into several parts. The first Tour de France was 2,428 kilometers (1,509 miles) divided into six stages. The 2013 Tour de France was 3,404 kilometers (2,115 miles) divided into 21 stages. 
     
    Most of the race is cycled through the varied terrain of France, including rural villages, agricultural areas, and a grueling stage through the Alps. The course, which changes every year, has also crossed into neighboring nations, such as Andorra, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and Monaco.
     
    French cyclist Maurice Garin won the first Tour de France with an average speed of 25.7 kilometers per hour (16 miles per hour). The fastest Tour de France was raced by Spanish cyclist Oscar Pereiro in 2006, with an average speed of 40.8 kilometers per hour (25.4 miles per hour).
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    compete Verb

    to work against someone or something else for an award or acknowledgment.

    course Noun

    path or route

    grueling Adjective

    physically difficult.

    nation Noun

    political unit made of people who share a common territory.

    Encyclopedic Entry: nation
    prestigious Adjective

    having a good reputation.

    rural Adjective

    having to do with country life, or areas with few residents.

    terrain Noun

    topographic features of an area.

    varied Adjective

    diverse.

    village Noun

    small human settlement usually found in a rural setting.

    Encyclopedic Entry: village