Tour De France, the Early Years

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The early years of the Tour De France were a hot mess, with a spiked bottle of lemonade, itching powder put in cyclists’ shorts, riders taking rides in cars and trains, attempted murder and pitched battles between cyclists and spectators.

Beginning in 1903 as a marketing exercise to boost the circulation of the newspaper L’Auto, the first was won by Maurice-François Garin, who knocked an opponent off their bike, and then jumped on the wheels so they couldn’t ride it anymore.

The second Tour would result in the top four finishers all being disqualified, with the reasons never made public.

Titus O’Reily and Mick Molloy look at the early years of the Tour De France, and how those bizarre early races would set the tone for one of the most popular sporting events in the world.

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Jul 13, 2022

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