On this day in 1903…

Maurice Garin won the very first Tour de France on July 18, 1903. Out of 60 starters, 21 cyclists finished the six stages of the inaugural Tour de France.

Garin was stripped of his title in the second Tour de France in 1904 after he and eight other riders were caught cheating. Records of what exactly they were accused of were lost during World War 2, but the historical consensus seems to be that Garin took a train a good deal of the way. Stories also abound of tacks in the road and even poisoning. When one rider confronted another for hitching a ride on a motorcycle, the cheating rider pulled a revolver on the accuser.

With his winnings from the 1903 race, Garin bought a gas station and retired from racing.

Ah, the good ol’ days, when sport was pure and free of scandal.

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