A Look at the Grand Road Cycling Tours

Collectively referred to as the Grand Tours, all three events, the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espagna, are all analogous in format. All events are multi-week road cycling tours with every day stages. The stages are a combination of long races with massed start (on occasion including hill and mountain climbs and descents), in addition to team and individual time trials and exhibitions as well as the rest days.

Road cycling racing is a racing sport held on the road, with racing bicycles.

It is well-liked all over the globe, but in Europe in particular. The most devoted and competitive countries are commonly thought to be France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, even while the United States also holds a high international status, and a lot of countries in the world possess great professional cyclists.

One of the most prestigious international road cycling tours is the Tour de France, a multistage over-three-weeks tour through France, by tradition ending in Paris. Analogous long multi-stage road cycling tours are held in Spain (the Vuelta a Espagna) and Italy (the Giro d'Italia). These three road cycling tours make up the "Grand Tours".

The Tour de France is a long-distance professional road cycling competition held over three-week span in July in France and around it. It has been organized once a year since 1903, interrupted merely by the two world wars. The latest tour was held in 2005.

The Tour de France is by a large amount the most prestigious of all road cycling tours in the world. At the same time as the other two Grand Tours are recognized in Europe and lure scores of professional cyclists, they are comparatively unknown outside the European continent. The Tour de France, on the contrary, has long been a well-known event around the planet, even among people who are not in the main interested in professional cycling, and is for road cycling what the FIFA World Championship is to soccer in terms of international popularity. Only the most excellent road cycling teams on the planet are chosen to participate and competitors have to have an invitation to be eligible for the race. It is in addition the largest annual professional sporting event in the world, assessed in the number of spectators.

The Tour de France winners over the last decade:

2005: Lance Armstrong (United States), Discovery Channel Team;
2004: Lance Armstrong (United States), U.S. Postal Team;
2003: Lance Armstrong (United States), U.S. Postal Team;
2002: Lance Armstrong (United States), U.S. Postal Team;
2001: Lance Armstrong (United States), U.S. Postal Team;
2000: Lance Armstrong (United States), U.S. Postal Team;
1999: Lance Armstrong (United States), U.S. Postal Team;
1998: Marco Pantani (Italy), Mercatone Uno Team;
1997: Jan Ulrich (Germany), Telecom Team;
1996: Bjarne Riis (Denmark), Telecom Team.

The Giro d'Italia, also known simply as the Giro, is a long-distance road cycling race for professionals held over three-week period in May or June in Italy and its surroundings.
The Giro d'Italia winners over the last decade:

2005: Paolo Savoldelli (Italy), Discovery Channel Team;
2004: Damiano Cunego (Italy), Saeco Team;
2003: Gilberto Simoni (Italy), Saeco Team;
2002: Paolo Savoldelli (Italy), Index-Alexia Team;
2001: Gilberto Simoni (Italy), Lampre-Daikin Team;
2000: Stefano Garzelli (Italy), Mercatone Uno Team;
1999: Ivan Gotti (Italy), Polti Team;
1998: Marco Pantani (Italy), Mercatone Uno Team;
1997: Ivan Gotti (Italy), Saeco Team;
1996: Pavel Tonkov (Russia).

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