103rd Tour de France to Take Off Saturday


Nearly 200 cyclists will ride 3,535 kilometers (2,196.547 miles) during the 103rd Tour de France, which takes off Saturday.

The three-week race will spread across France, Spain, Andorra and Switzerland and is made up of 21 different stages: nine flat stages, one hilly stage, nine mountain stages which includes four summit finishes, and two individual time trial stages. The other two stages will be rest days.

The grand start will be held in La Manche in France for the first time in history, which is known for its variety in landscapes. The final stage finishes in Andorra on Sunday, July 24.

Three teams will represent the United States in the cycling race: Trek-Segafredo, Cannondale Drapac Team and BMC Racing Team. Overall, there are 198 cyclists and 22 teams, each consisting of nine riders. All teams received invitations to participate.

This year, spectators will now be able to see more of the race from inside the peloton as a result of the new tracking system and live broadcasts from on-board cameras. The race will be broadcasted in 190 countries, with 80 hours of live coverage. NBC has sole rights to Tour coverage in the United States.

Compared to last year, this race is 174.7 kilometers (109 miles) longer and has one additional individual time trial, where last year had one individual and one team trial.

Chris Froome from Team Sky is expected to win by many, which would be his third winning Tour. Froome was born in Kenya, and now races for Britain.

The debut of the Tour de France was on July 1, 1903, where 60 bikers competed in six different stages. Maurice Garin was the first winner of the annual race.

More statistics and information on the Tour de France can be found on its website.

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several shorter distance races and two half marathons. Her goal for 2017 is to try a triathlon, and eventually do the Chicago Marathon. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism. Working at Chicago Athlete, Holly has been able to explore photography a lot more, which is one of her main hobbies. She enjoys taking photos at endurance races, and is also passionate about nature photography and portraiture.