One of the most prestigious bicycle races in the world, which became a household name with Lance Armstrong’s book – The Tour de France is considered the epitome of bicycle racing!
Origins of the Tour de France
The first Tour de France was held in 1903 and was won by Maurice Garin with only 60 participants riding across 2,428 km. The race has now grown into a 20-team race, with riders from all over the globe racing across 3,300 km!
Evolution of the Tour de France
In the 1905 race, the Ballon d’Alsace mountain stage was included, along with more stringent rules to prevent cheating as much had been seen since 1903 like tampering with bicycles and so on. The Tour de France has taken place annually since its inception, and the only times it was canceled was during the Spanish flu pandemic and both World Wars. As of today, the Tour de France riders race on smooth, paved roads unlike in the early days. Earlier on, there were no helmets or support and the riders had to repair their cycles on their own. To prepare for eventual punctures, riders wore spare tires and tubes to protect their bikes from the road’s wear and tear.
Tour de France, 1937
It was in 1926 that the Tour de France had the longest route, covering 5,745 kilometers. As the tour became sponsored and broadcast live on radio in the early 1930s, races of this distance ended. In 1937, derailleurs were introduced to the Tour bicycles, which revolutionized the way climbers could navigate mountains.
The Tour de France today
In addition to changing the route each year, the Tour de France continues to evolve. There are millions of people who follow this spectacle closely because it attracts attention from all over the world. Usually, the Tour de France takes place in July and fans from all over gather in temperamental weather conditions to cheer on their favorite riders!