Tour de France
The Tour de France is a famous cycling race, held annually in France during the month of July. The Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, and Vuelta a Espagne are referred to as the Grand Tours of professional cycling. The course of the race changes from year to year, often passing through neighboring countries, but traditionally finishes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. In 2007 commenced in England.
Riders who compete in the Tour de France are members of corporate-sponsored teams of nine riders. These nine riders work together to help the team leader or other team members to increase their standing. Team Discovery Channel (formerly United States Postal Service) is the only team in the Tour based out of the United States.
Riders in the Tour de France compete in several different competitions; the leader of each competition is awarded a jersey at the end of each stage race. The Yellow Jersey is awarded to the overall race leader. The Green Jersey is awarded to the leader of the points competition, in which points are awarded to riders winning a series of sprint races. The Polka-dot Jersey is awarded to the "King of the Mountains" leader, given to the rider who has the best record climbing designated hills and mountains in the race. The White Jersey is awarded to the "Best Young Rider", the rider under the age of 25 with the highest placement in the overall race standings.
American Lance Armstrong won the race a record seven times from 1999 to 2005. While the French media often accused Armstrong of steroid use, such claims were never supported by his drug test results. The most recent winner (2006) was another American, Floyd Landis, however his victory has been contested due to a failed drug test following a stage victory. The controversy came after a number of riders, including race favorites Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich, were banned from competing in the race just a few days before it began due to allegations of steroid use.