Five facts you probably didn’t know about Tour de France

A picture of Pamela Anderson stuck to Mario Cipollini's handlebars, kept the Italian rider going
A picture of Pamela Anderson stuck to Mario Cipollini's handlebars, kept the Italian rider going
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How Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson got one rider’s legs pumping and other lesser-known Tour snippets...

Pyjama procession: The first Tour was in 1903, consisting of six stages (as opposed to 21, now), attracting 70 entrants (198 now) and took place at night time!

Italian cyclist Mario Cipollini

Italian cyclist Mario Cipollini

Cigarettes and alcohol: In the 20s it was common place for riders to light up whilst riding and until the 60s riders could drink alcohol during the race. That was curtailed after a law was passed banning sportsmen using stimulants when competing (That ban hasn’t always been successful!).

Screen Goddess: Riders have their own ways of motivating themselves, but Italian Mario Cipollini took this to a new level when he taped a picture of busty Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson to his handlebars. The image might boost his testosterone levels, giving him an advantage over competitors. Or so he thought.

Fast as a bullet: In 1989 Greg LeMond won for a second time despite having 35 pellets in his body - he’d been shot in a hunting accident a few years earlier.

Hungry work: The 3,664kms distance is like cycling from London to Cairo. Riders burn 123,900 calories- the equivalent of gulping down 420 cheese burgers or 619 Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Those who finish the course will have climbed the equivalent of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Mount Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Everest...in just 21 days!