The Tour de France is the top cycling race on the planet, with it being one of the most sought-after titles for cyclists from around the world. The competition is over three weeks long and starts in late June or early July, with riders from all around the world competing for the honor of being crowned champion.
The reigning champion is Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard. He held off Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar, who was aiming to win his third consecutive Yellow Jacket, however, finished two minutes and 43 seconds behind the eventual winner. With his victory, Vingegaard became just the second Dane in history to secure victory at the famed tournament and the first in 26 years.
Both of last years top two are tipped to battle it out for the crown once again this year. Online Bookmaker Bovada’s odds suggest that both cyclists’ chances to win are high, with Pogačar currently the favorite in the betting odds and Vingegaard slightly behind. But throughout the 2010s, there was one nation that dominated the tour, Great Britain.
British Stage Winners
British cyclists have had a good deal of success in the race. The first British rider to win a stage on the Tour de France was Tom Simpson in 1965, who edged out Jacques Anquetil thanks to his outstanding performance in the mountains. Since then, other British riders have gone on to win the race, making the UK a major force in the world of professional cycling.
The next British rider to win a stage on the Tour de France was Chris Boardman in 1994. Boardman was the first rider to ever win the race in the modern era, and his victory was remarkable considering the struggles he had faced earlier in his career. He also won two individual time trial stages during the race after overcoming early doubts about his ability to do so.
British Yellow Jersey Winners
While Britain has generally performed well in the tour, they never produced a cyclist that went all the way, winning the entire Tour and picking up the Yellow Jersey in the process. That all ended in 2012 when Britain finally entered the Tour de France winners’ club.
The man who brought that success was Bradley Wiggins, who became the first Briton to win the overall title. He also won three stages of the race, becoming the first British rider to do so, and his achievement was all the more remarkable given his recent comeback from injury.
The most recent British winner of the Tour de France was Geraint Thomas, who won in 2018 after an incredible performance in the mountains. Thomas was the first rider from the UK to win the race in four years, and his victory was seen as a major milestone for British cycling.
But sandwiched between those two is one of the greatest-ever cyclists in the history of the Tour De France, Chris Froome. The Kenyan-born Brit won four Yellow Jerseys in five years between 2013 and 2017. His first success came in 2013, before being pipped to the crown by Italian Vincenzo Nibali the following year.
But that defeat only inspired Froome. He would complete a hat trick of victories in 2015, 2016, and 2017, becoming the first cyclist since Spaniard Miguel Indurain in the early 90s to win three consecutive Yellow Jerseys. He attempted to make it four on the spin in 2018 however he eventually finished third, with Team Sky teammate and compatriot Geraint Thomas eventually taking home the crown.
Two other British riders have come close to winning the Tour de France but failed to do so. Robert Millar was one of the leading contenders in 1984 but he was beaten to the title by Laurent Fignon by a mere eight seconds, making it one of the closest races in the history of the Tour de France.
The other British rider to miss out was David Millar, who finished as runner-up in 2003 behind Lance Armstrong. As the world discovered, however, Armstrong’s victories were tarnished, to say the least, due to a whole host of rule infringements. He was stripped of all seven of his crowns that he won between 1999 and 2005.
As well as racing in the Tour de France, some of the British winners have also gone on to compete in the Olympics. Both Boardman and Wiggins won gold medals in the individual pursuit, with Wiggins also winning a team pursuit gold medal in London in 2012. Thomas has also made two Olympic appearances, coming fourth in the individual pursuit at London 2012 and fifth in the Madison at Rio 2016.
All in all, British cyclists have had a long and successful history in the Tour de France, with five riders having won the title and two riders coming in second. This remarkable record has been supported by notable performances in the Olympics, and it looks like British cycling is here to stay.