The Tour de France is one of the most demanding events in all of sports.
Unlike the one-game, winner-take-all Super Bowl in the NFL, the Tour de France lasts nearly a month and pushes its participants to the limits of mental and physical endurance. The course extends more than 2,000 miles of mountains and rugged terrain through multiple European countries, and there are nearly 200 cyclists constantly pushing for position. Falter once, and your position could easily be overtaken by another rider.
NBC Sports commentator Phil Liggett knows this all too well.
The 2017 edition of the Tour de France is the 104th running of the event, and it’ll be the 45th time that Liggett, a former cyclist himself, is covering it. Liggett has covered numerous epic sporting events during his long career, including 15 different Olympic Games. But to him, there’s nothing that matches the Tour de France.
“It’s the event of the sporting world. It’s not just an event in the sport of cycling—it’s a happening in the world of sport on a grand scale,” Liggett told Men’s Fitness ahead of the 2017 Tour de France. “The size of the tour, with 10,000 people moving every day—the cyclists, the teams, journalists, officials—going from point A to point B through the stages. It’s very, very special. Even if you’re tired, you don’t want to show the world you’re tired.”
British cyclist Chris Froome won the 2016 event, but this year he has some major challengers, including his former teammate, Australian cyclist Richie Porte.
The event starts on July 1, and will finish up in Paris on July 23.
Here’s everything you need to know for the 2017 Tour de France.