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History Of Tour de France

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In 1903, a French cyclist took an initiative to start a race called ‘Tour de France’. Henri Desgrange, being the establisher of this event, ran a newspaper called L’Auto at that time which sponsored the event for advertisement. This event gained a lot of attention from the public because the newspaper’s competitor, Le Velo, was the only paper that officially reported about cycle races. The first race covered a track of 2428 km starting from Paris to Lyon to Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and then back to Paris. The first winner to complete the race at a speed of 25.7km per hour was a 32-year-old Frenchman Maurice Garin.

The race revealed so many loopholes, like riders using trains to cover the distance and sabotaging fellow participants. So, the organizers decided to resume the events and the race has continued to take place every year since. Unfortunately, from 1915 to 1918 and from 1940 to 1946, the event couldn’t take place because of World War I and II respectively. This mega initiative led to so many shops all around, bike shop Williamstown being one of them.

Yellow Jersey

Soon after World War I ended, Henri Desgrange decided to introduce yellow jersey for two particular reasons: the public could easily apprehend that a race is going on and more importantly, L’Auto was printed on yellow paper. This jersey was owned by Eugene Christophe in 1919 for the first time who was an Italian. 

Monstrous Rides

The longest race to ever take place was in 1926 which covered a humungous distance of 5745 km. When other advertisers came into the picture and the race was broadcasted live throughout, deadly challenges were thrown to participants.

In the 1930’s, French riders tried their luck and won 6 years straight. Then came Italian cyclist Gino Bartali, who won the race very next year and then again after 10 years at the age of 34. Sadly, in 1950 Bartali was assaulted but he didn’t give up and carried on to win the stage. But after that, withdrew to protest against physical assault. This dynamism is still fresh in the young generation who pay a visit to any bike shop Williamstown to buy their favorite bike like Specialized Bikes.

Tough Climbs

Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez were introduced in 1951 and 1952. These were two of the toughest climbs of Tour de France. Coppi won the first Alpe d’Huez and then every race that took place that year. two French riders took the credit for 5 tours and the Spanish rider dominated the 1959 event. However, there are also some heart-wrenching tragedies that happened in these events, the first one happened in 1995 when Fabio Carsartelli couldn’t trick death and smashed while moving at a speed of 88 km/h, the other incident happened in 1967 when Tom Simpson crashed near the summit of Mont Ventoux.

The Story of Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was an American, who took the entire nation by storm with massive victories in the 1993 and 1995 tours. Unfortunately, in 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer which had already spread to most parts of the body. He signed up for operation and the entire procedure of chemotherapy to fight back and it was no surprise that he entitled 1999 Tour de France to himself. He then went on to win various tours which were later investigated.

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