Constructed to be one of the most prestigious racing events in the world and easily the most difficult biking route in sport, the Tour de France is a 2000-mile marathon designed to test the strength and determination of roughly 200 riders every year.
As the pinnacle of cycling competition, the race sees some of the most highly rated cyclists attend as well as amateur riders looking to face the goliath challenge.
The riders are given just 23 days to cycle the great distance, passing through the French cities, towns, countryside, and mountains, aiming to make it to the finish line in Paris.
But how quickly do the cyclists need to move to beat this ticking clock? And what is the fastest ever speed set at the Tour de France?
How Fast Do Normal Cyclists Ride?
Despite often seeming like a calm and leisurely activity, bicycles can amazingly reach a flat ground speed of 25-28 mph (miles per hour) with the average speed for an amateur cyclist roughly 18 mph.
30 mph is certainly achievable for a professional racer. However, it is extremely difficult to maintain this average speed on flat ground. The mountain terrain incorporated in the Tour de France often gives many cyclists the chance to increase their speed but it can also be a more hazardous area to do so.
Although it is seen as one of the most difficult cycling races in the world, the male-only race is run for amateurs and is open to anyone 18 years or over on race day.
Tour de France Average Speed
The average speed for a Tour de France cyclist is 25 mph, a figure that has increased over time as equipment has developed since the initial tour in 1903.
In order to complete the 2000-mile tour in 23 days, most riders often need to travel at a minimum of 20 mph, further highlighting the fitness, endurance, and speed required for the tour.
In 2021, Tadej Pogačar averaged 27 mph on his way to victory, becoming the second-fastest winner in tour history. Pogačar beat 175 other cyclists over the 21 stages of the race to win his first-ever Tour de France.
Pogačar received €200,000 for finishing second in 2021, also winning €11,000 per stage victory. Every rider who arrives in Paris receives at least €1,000 as the minimum prize for surviving three weeks.
Tour de France Fastest Speed
The fastest speed in Tour de France history was made by German cyclist Nils Politt who reached an unbelievable 63 mph while descending Col de Vars.
On average, Belgian rider Wout van Aert has been the fastest biker over a day, riding for 15 minutes at 31 mph in the 2022 Tour de France in the pouring rain.
In order to reach these speeds, bikers will need to break away from the peloton – the main group of racers that sticks close together for aerodynamic benefits.