环法赛是欧洲影响最广、规模最大，比赛水平最高的自行车比赛，为欧洲三大自行车赛之首。它1903年起源于两家报社——《机动车报》和《自行车报》（l'Auto 和 le Vélo）的竞争。当时《机动车报》的编辑亨利·德斯格朗吉（Henri Desgrange）决定要组织一项“世界上最重要的自行车比赛”，于是在1903年的7月1日第一届环法自行车赛诞生了。共有60名车手参加了这次比赛，经过2397公里的鏖战，毛瑞斯·盖利（Maurice Garin）第一个到达了设在巴黎市内的王子公园的终点，成为了世界上第一位环法赛的总冠军。
The Tour de France (French for "Tour of France"), often referred to as La Grande Boucle, Le Tour or The Tour, is a long-distance road bicycle racing competition for professionals held over three weeks in July in and around France. It has been held annually since 1903, interrupted only by World War I and World War II. The most recent Tour was the 2005 Tour de France.
The Tour de France is by far the most prestigious of all cycling competitions in the world. While the other two European Grand Tours are well-known in Europe and attract many professional cyclists, they are relatively unknown outside the continent, and even the UCI World Cycling Championship is only familiar to cycling enthusiasts. The Tour de France, in contrast, has long been a household name around the globe, even amongst people who are not generally interested in pro cycling, and is for cycling what the FIFA World Cup is to football (soccer) in terms of global popularity. Only the best cycling teams in the world are chosen to compete and competitors must have an invitation to enter the race. It is also the world's largest annual pro sporting event, measured in the number of viewers.
History and general description 历史&概要
The Tour was founded as a publicity event for the newspaper L'Auto (ancestor of the present l'Équipe) by its editor and co-founder, Henri Desgrange, to rival the Paris-Brest et retour ride (sponsored by Le Petit Journal), and Bordeaux-Paris. The idea for a round-France stage race is also credited to one of his journalists, Géorges Lefèvre, with whom Desgrange had lunch at the Café de Madrid in Paris on 20 November 1902. L'Auto announced the race on January 19, 1903. Promotion of the Tour de France certainly proved a great success for the newspaper; circulation leapt from 25,000 before the 1903 Tour to 65,000 after it; in 1908 the race boosted circulation past a quarter of a million, and during the 1923 Tour it was selling 500,000 copies a day. The record circulation claimed by Desgrange was 854,000, achieved during the 1933 Tour. Today, the Tour is organized by the Société du Tour de France, a subsidiary of Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), which is part of the media group that owns l'Équipe.
The Tour is a "stage race", divided into a number of stages, each being a race held over one day. The amount of time it takes each rider to complete each stage is noted, recorded and accumulated. The ranking of the riders according to accumulated time is known as the General Classification, or GC. The overall winner is the one who is ranked first on GC at the end of the final stage. It is possible to win the overall race without winning any individual stages (which Greg LeMond did in 1990). Winning a Tour de France stage is considered a great pro cycling achievement, more prestigious than winning most single day races, regardless of one's overall standing in the GC. Although the number of stages has varied in the past, recently the Tour has consisted of about 20 stages, with a total length of between 3,000 and 4,000 km (1800 to 2500 mi). In addition to the race for the overall win, there are several additional competitions. The leaders of these competitions are represented by certain colored jerseys.