Tour de France, holy grail of cycling, to begin Saturday

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ANKARA. KAZINFORM - The 2023 Tour de France, one of the three Grand Tours in cycling, will begin Saturday with Stage 1 in Spain's Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Autonomous Community, Kazinform cites Anadolu Agency.

The 110th edition of the 21-stage grueling contest will end July 23 in Paris' Champs-Elysees.

Established in 1903, the Tour de France is the oldest bike race and one of the major and prestigious competitions alongside Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

This year. 176 racers from 22 teams will compete in Tour de France.

It is the second time that Basque Country in northern Spain will host the Tour's start -- called the Grand Depart -- after San Sebastian's in 1992, and it is the 25th Grand Depart to be held abroad.

The Tour will stay in Spain for the second stage which will run between Vitoria-Gasteiz and San Sebastian. The third stage will start at Amorebieta-Etxano (Spain) but end in France's Bayonne.

Following the three stages in the west of the Pyrenees, the rest of the race will be in France, visiting six regions and 23 departments.

The 2023 race will cover 3,405 kilometers (2,115 miles) and include hill, mountain and flat surfaces depending on locations.

Riders to visit 5 French mountains, including Alps

Riders will respectively visit all five mountain massifs in France -- the Pyrenees, the Massif Central, the Jura, the Alps and the Vosges.

The Col de la Loze (2,304 meters or 7,559 feet) in the French Alps will be the highest point of this year's Tour.

The Tour de France said €2.3 million ($2.49 million) will be the total prize money and will include €500,000 to the winner of the overall individual classification.


Tour set to see Pogacar vs. Vingegaard showdown, Bernal returns

2020 and 2021 Tour de France champion, Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates and defending champion Jonas Vingegaard of Team Jumbo-Visma are expected to compete for the yellow jersey, which is handed to the winner.

Vingegaard may lack Primoz Roglic as the Slovenian cyclist previously confirmed that he will not ride in the Tour de France.

Pogacar was back in action after a major hand injury in April. He underwent surgery on a fractured wrist after a Liege-Bastogne-Liege crash, but started preparations in June for the Tour de France.

Meanwhile, Ineos Grenadiers' Egan Bernal, the 2019 champion, will return to the Tour de France after a two-year hiatus.

In 2021, Bernal was injured and skipped the Tour.

He underwent several surgeries for bone fractures, including his spine, after colliding with a stationary bus during a training session in his native Colombia in January 2022.


Cavendish in France for final time

With 34 Tour de France stage wins, British racer Mark Cavendish, 38, will pedal at the Tour de France for a final time and is seeking an all-time record.

Cavendish said he will retire at the end of the season.

The British athlete won 34 Tour de France stages from 2008 - 2021 to tie former Belgian rider Eddy Merckx, who set a Tour de France stage record in 1975.

Cavendish, who is currently competing for Astana Qazaqstan Team, won the green jersey, or the points classification, at the 2011 and 2021 races.

The green jersey is awarded to the best sprinter in the contest.


Tour de France's record champions

Cyclist

Country

Tour de France titles

1

Jacques Anquetil

France

5 (1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)

Eddy Merckx

Belgium

5 (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)

Bernard Hinault

France

5 (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985)

Miguel Indurain

Spain

5 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)

5

Chris Froome

Great Britain

4 (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)

6

Philippe Thys

Belgium

3 (1913, 1914, 1920)

Louison Bobet

France

3 (1953, 1954, 1955)

Greg LeMond

US

3 (1986, 1989, 1990)


Tour de France stage wins per racer

Cyclist

Country

Stage wins

1

Eddy Merckx

Belgium

34

Mark Cavendish

Great Britain

34

3

Bernard Hinault

France

28

4

Andre Leducq

France

25

5

Andre Darrigade

France

22

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