Grand Tours

In the world of bicycle racing, the term ‘Grand Tour’ means everything to every competitive cyclist out there. The ‘Grand Tours’ consists of three cycling stage races, and all of them are held annually across three weeks with daily stages.

The three races are no other than:

  • Tour de France
  • Giro d’Italia
  • Vuelta a Espana

Known to be the most prestigious bicycle races, these three ‘Grand Tours’ have special privileges within the UCI regulations.

A few of the privileges include more points are awarded in the Grand Tours compared to other races and also only these three races are allowed to take place longer than a fortnight.

If you haven’t guessed already, the oldest of all Grand Tours’ is the Tour de France. It sees hundreds or participants every year on top of hundreds of thousands of fans and spectators.

Every year, the Giro d’Italia tour takes place first (in May) among the other tours, followed by Tour de France (in July) and finally the Vuelta a Espana (in September). Previously, the Vuelta a Espana Tour was held in May but was later moved to September to avoid clashing with the Giro d’Italia. After all, it’s the same teams and riders whom participate in all these events.

In all these races, riders battle to win the different classifications. The most sought after classification would be the general classification and the rider who wins this is pretty much known as the winner of the race. The secondary classifications that riders compete for are the mountain and points classifications. Different coloured jerseys are awarded for each classification win.

Amazingly, the Tour de France is also part of the Triple Crown of Cycling alongside Giro d’Italia and the Road World Cycling Championship.

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Recent Grand Tour Winners

Tour de France

  • 2017: Chris Froome (GB)
  • 2016: Chris Froome (GB)
  • 2015: Chris Froome (GB)
  • 2014: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
  • 2013: Chris Froome (GB)
  • 2012: Bradley Wiggins (GB)

Giro d’Italia

  • 2017: Tom Dumoulin (NED)
  • 2016: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
  • 2015: Alberto Contador (ESP)
  • 2014: Nairo Quintana (COL)
  • 2013: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
  • 2012: Ryder Desjedal (CAN)
  • 2011: Michele Scarponi

Vuelta a Espana

  • 2017: Chris Froome (GB)
  • 2016: Nairo Quintana (COL)
  • 2015: Fabio Aru (ITA)
  • 2014: Alberto Contador (ESP)
  • 2013: Chris Horner (USA)
  • 2012: Alberto Contador (ESP)

In terms of country wins, Italy tops the leaderboard with 85 Grand Tour wins. France and Spain follows closely behind with 51 and 49 wins respectively.

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Best Riders Of All Time

Great cyclists are celebrated, especially those who have won multiple Grand Tours. In the hall of fame, Eddy Merckx from Belgium tops the list with a total of 11 wins. In specific, he has won 5 Tour de France races, 5 Giro d’Italia races and 1 Vuelta a Espana race.

The most recent cyclist to come close to this feat is no other than Chris Froome from Great Britain. To put his success in perspective, he has won five out of the last six Tour de France races. Best part is that he is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.