Every sport has its pinnacle event. Professional football in the United States has the Super Bowl, golf has the Masters, and baseball has the World Series. And with each summit, all of the special events of sport each have rich history and timeless memories.
Cycling is nothing short of a fascinating sport and its premier event truly dates back to a different time. The crème de la crème of the excruciating sport of cycling is, in fact, the iconic Tour de France.
It started long ago
The first Tour de France was launched in the year 1903, with it being an invigorating event that saw the athletes partake in long race stages. And since its inception many years ago, it has grown into something truly remarkable.
World War I and II caused the events to be canceled eleven times, but other than that, the Tour de France has seen a fair share of memories over the years.
Imagine biking all throughout France on unpaved roads with loose gravel and falling rock. Not to mention the equipment is hardly suitable for such a feat and the bicycle riders don’t have helmets. The first Tour de France was certainly an accomplishment for those sixty cyclists that partook in it, especially for the winner, Maurice Garin.
The racers back then were comprised mostly of Frenchman and a few from neighboring lands. Today, the race attracts professional cyclists around the world and many get excited when summer arrives and the Tour de France is here.
Back in the early 1900s, most would presumably think you were crazy if you told them that you planned on embarking on a nearly 2,500 kilometer race throughout the beautiful but grueling French countryside. And something else fascinating about the first Tour de France is that there were only six stages to it. The 2013 version of the race had 21 stages, none of which toped 150 miles. The first stage in the 1903 Tour de France was 300 miles alone.
Perhaps one of the most popular moments of the rich history of the race was when Lance Armstrong won it a record seven times in a row from 1999 to 2005. It was exciting for a man that seemed invincible, but it was too good to be true, as Armstrong has since been stripped of all of his titles due to doping. When the 2014 race hits this summer, it will be different than the first in 1903, but the same lively spirit is alive and well in the most famous cycling race in the world.