Tour de France is considered the largest annual bicycle race in the world with millions of spectators watching. Held in France and neighboring countries, the race has fascinated the audience from 1903 to the present, except for the years when the tournament was suspended (not conducted from 1915 to 1918 and from 1940 to 1946).
3,600 km long route in 3 weeks, including the up and down the mountain road. Not only that, the endurance of the riders is also challenged by the time that takes place in the hot summer. The annual Tour de France attracts riders as well as teams from around the world.
The idea of Tour de France dates back to the 1900s. At that time, there was a major sports newspaper in France – L’Auto Velo. The publication of L’Auto Velo published an article supporting Albert Dreyfus – a French soldier accused of selling military secrets to Germany – made L’Auto Velo sponsor angry and decided to set up a sports newspaper. Just a competitor, Le Velo. After Dreyfus, France split into two camps – those who believed that Dreyfus was guilty and those who thought he was innocent. The sponsor sided with the first, and forced L’Auto Velo to change its name to L’Auto.
Competition between the two newspapers became fierce and L’Auto quickly lost ground to the opponent. To survive, the newspaper needs to do something strong.
The idea of Tour de France was formed in 1902 by Georges Lefèvre – a journalist of L’Auto. He wants to have a tough, long, scale and better bike race than any race before. The first Tour de France took place in 1903 with 60 riders participating in the first prize. The race was successful.
Dreyfus was later vindicated and forgiven by France. Le Vélo was originally born to protest the article that supported Dreyfus to eventually close, unable to face the success of L’Auto and Tour de France.
In the early years, the riders were mostly French but within 10 years, the race attracted both international riders and satisfied audiences around the world.
Tour de France has been accused of fraud, vandalism and violence. In 1905, there were an estimated 125 kg of nails scattered on the road on the first leg. As a result, only 15 riders reached the finish line from over 60 people at the start.
In 1910, the race to witness the first fatal accident of Adolphe Hélière – who was electrocuted while swimming in Nice on a half-day break.
The tour de France is divided into several stages and each rider’s time is summed up daily to determine the final winner at the end of the day. Drivers who have accumulated time to complete the shortest course will be awarded the Golden Shirt Tour de France the next day.
The idea of the yellow vest was developed by 19-year-old editor Henri Desgrange – head of the race organization – in 1919, L’Auto newspaper was also printed on yellow paper. Since then, the yellow shirt has inspired the songs, movies, books and the desire of the riders.