It's an all-French affair for the Tour de France's 100th anniversary

The tour finishes on the Champes Elysées in Paris, (photo by William Morice)
The tour finishes on the Champes Elysées in Paris

France’s national treasure of a race, Le Tour, celebrates its centenary this year and on this special occasion it will be an all-French affair. For the first time since 2003, the route will not spread beyond the French borders. Instead, it will start in the glitzy resort of Porto-Vecchio, on the beautiful island of Corsica, its first ever venture on the Isle of Beauty.


Tour de France 2013 centenary events


Marred by the recent doping scandals involving seven-time winner Lance Armstrong and 1997 winner Jan Ullrich, Le Tour’s centenary comes at a ripe time to lift the spirit of professional cycling. There will be special events held at every stage of the race. If you happen to be strolling through the lovely Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, you’ll stumble upon a wonderful retrospective on the gates of the French Senate. Londoners too will get a chance to dive in the Tour de France experience from July 15 to 21. The Fan Park ( will be set up in Canary Wharf during the Alpine stages, free of charge. A giant screen will show the stage of the day and exclusive features from the roads of the Tour. There will also be photo exhibitions for the curious to brush up on cycling culture, as well as stands showcasing French regional produce and, with an eye on the 2014 race, a selection of Yorkshire specialities.

This year’s Tour will take in all the usual suspects, from the arduous mountain climbs through the Alps and Pyrenees to the lush valleys of the Centre and plains of the North. And for the grand finale on the Champs-Elysées, the winner of the coveted yellow jersey, as well as his acolytes in the green and red-dotted jerseys (awarded for point classification and best mountain climber respectively), will be greeted by all the racing legends who inspired them.

But of course, the real celebration will come from the millions of spectators who cheer on the roadside as their heroes zoom by. The race has survived countless hardships but its longevity is due to the sheer passion the sport emanates – over 3 billion people watch Le Tour on television every year. And once the 100th is over, bring on Yorkshire!


You can see the route on the official Tour de France website


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