From Statista: The world-famous cycling competition, the Tour de France, kicks off next week, running from July 1 – July 24. It’s touted as one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and according to statistics by Médiamétrie, attracted a television audience of 150 million viewers across Europe in 2021. But how popular is it on a country-by-country basis?
Data from Statista’s Global Consumer Survey shows that one stereotype does hold true: the Dutch do really love their bikes. According to data of selected countries collected between April 2021and March 2022, the Netherlands had the greatest share of competitive cycling fans out of the selected European countries, with 29 percent of its sports fans saying they followed the competitions. The Italians and the French followed in joint second place, at 27 percent. The UK lagged some way behind, with only 14 percent of British sports fans saying that they follow the professional races.
The Tour de France started back in 1903. Defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the “world’s most prestigious and most difficult biking race”, it consists of around 20 teams of nine riders cycling 3,600km (2,235 miles), mostly through France, although occasionally dipping into neighboring countries, over a three-week period in July. While only one rider is crowned victorious, teammates will work together to help their lead rider win, whether that’s letting them ride shielded from the wind, or exchanging one of their wheels when they have a flat tire. The race has been plagued by doping scandals over the years, with the most famous case seeing U.S. seven-time winner Lance Armstrong being stripped of his title in 2012, after investigations found him to have been abusing high performance drugs when he won his titles. The two other world-famous cycling races are the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
This chart shows which European countries had the biggest fan base when it came to competitive cycling, as of March 2022.Despite its reputation for doping, and other forms of cheating, I do admit to wanting to see this grand event. I just can’t decide whether to follow the race courses along for a few days or watch the grand finale in Paris. Or maybe I should do both?