We are officially in summer and for all cycling enthusiasts this can only mean one thing: Tour de France.
It is one of the most expected cycling competitions in Europe and around the world, with an itinerary that reaches 4,000 km, crossing the entire French territory and neighboring countries.
Its history begins in 1903 at Mongeron, near Paris: a first route of about 2,000 km to Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and Paris. There are 3 historical news that you probably did not know about the Grande Boucle.
1. The birth of the Tour is related to the famous Dreyfus affair.
In the famous Affaire Dreyfus, officer Alfred Dreyfus is wrongfully accused of selling some military secrets to his rival Germany. The country is divided between guilty and innocent thoughts, many are at this time the square demonstrations. Marquis Albert de Dion, owner of the homonymous automaker, convinced of Dreyfus official guilty, is also a sponsor of Le Vélo, an important sports journal: the magazine chooses the line of impartiality on the case by publishing positive and negative opinions. De Dion decides, along with other well-known names, to leave the newspaper and create a new one: L’Auto-Vélo , which later became L’Auto.
But the economic difficulties for a new editorial product, with no loyal audience, are not few: for this reason, Georges Lefèvre, cycling editor, proposes to organize the long-haul cycling race ever. This is how the first Tour de France runs, with 78 enrolled, professional and amateur, and 12,000 francs as the first prize. The competition immediately reveals great success, raising the fate of L’Auto and bringing Le Vélo to bankruptcy.
2. Women are admitted in the 1980s.
The Tour de France is conceived as a male race and remains the same for about 80 years.
Only in 1984 was created the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale, thus opening up the participation to women as well. The feature of this route is that the stages are slightly shorter than the Male Tour.
3. Five Italians won the prestigious race.
The Italians wearing the Yellow Shirt are: Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Felice Gismondi, Marco Pantani and Vincenzo Nibali.
So let’s start preparing for the great event of July: Are you as impatient as us?