As part of celebrations to mark the 100th edition of the Tour de France, race organisers ASO are set to invite every rider who has ever finished the Tour to the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in 2013.
2,060 of the 8,339 riders to have finished the Tour are still living, and L’Équipe reports that it is hoped that at least a quarter of them will be able to make the journey to Paris next July, where they will be feted in a ceremony as the “Giants of the Tour.”
The riders will be seated in a special tribune on the Place de la Concorde during the final stage of the Tour on July 21, which takes place in the evening, with the floodlit finish on the Champs-Élysées expected at 9.45pm.
The “giants” will also be presented to the public in the Tuileries Garden on the eve of the Tour’s entry into Paris, and ASO is expected to announce full details of the project in February.
France has the most surviving Tour finishers, with 491, followed by Italy (358), Spain (301) and Belgium (256), while a further 37 nations have had at least one Tour finisher.
The oldest surviving Tour finisher is 98-year-old Pierre Cogan. The Frenchman rode his first Tour in 1935, when he was just 21.