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History of the Tour de France

The First Event

Henri Desgrange, a French cyclist and journalist, started the Tour de France in 1903. His newspaper, L'Auto (now L'Equipe), sponsored the race for advertising purposes. The paper's competitor, Le Vélo, at that time was the only paper reporting on cycle racing.

The first winner was 32 year old Frenchman Maurice Garin who completed the course at an average speed of 25.7 km per hour (see more about the 1903 event).

Since its inception, the Tour de France has taken place every year, interrupted only by the world wars. There were no events from 1915 to 1918 because of World War I and non events held between 1940 to 1946 because of World War II.

1906 Tour de France race - the Villersexel bend image form the 1906 Tour de France - the Villersexel bend

There have been many controversies throughout the history of the Tour de France, but no greater than those concerning Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was the most successful rider ever, finishing first seven times before his wins were removed from the record books after being found guilty of doping by the USADA in 2012.

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