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.
The 100th Tour de France begins in a few hours. Look at the previous 99 episodes of the Tour de France in this big coffee table book from Velo Press.
My wife has a copy for her office. You should get one for your office. Hover your mouse over those grimacing faces above and click.
This is an advertisement, but I can recommend this book if you’re a fan of road bike races at all. Yes, it includes photos of Lance Armstrong, along with all of the other dopers from years past.
VeloPress recently published Tour de France 100, an absolutely gorgeous coffee table book filled with big photos and narrative covering the 100 year history of the challenging bike event.
(Spoilers below, with photos as I test out a new service…)
Tour de France Stage 5 start in Rouen, France.
Tour de France 2012 begins tomorrow with a prologue in Liege and will continue through Stage 20 on July 22.
The Tour de France entered the Alps for three days of climbing, descending, and more climbing.
Quick Quiz: Please answer just one of these questions to give others a chance. No prizes, just for fun.
- Which cyclist was the first American to win a stage win on the Alpe d’Huez?
- What year did this American stage win happen?
- Where did this cyclist eventually place in the GC for the Tour de France that year?
- What team did he race for?
Hopefully, you’ve watched, heard and read the race reports for Stage 17. If not, this post contains minor spoilers.