Events  Tour de France in turmoil and happiness
01/07/201623:30 TV5MONDE
 


 
The 103rd edition of the Tour de France is about to start. On this occasion, we have prepared some of the worst and the greatest stories of the legendary Tour de France, since the very beginning. 
 
Let's start!
 
 
Great! The French cyclists who won the most races are Bernard Hinault  (5 times in 78, 79, 81, 82 and 85), Jacques Anquetil (5 times in 57, 61, 62, 63 and 1964). There is also the Spanish Miguel Indurain (between 91 and 95) and the Belgian Eddy Merckx...
 
The worst! In 1904, the Tour was full of sabotage stories and silly vandalism! Pierre Chevalier jumped in a car during the night to save time. Some inhabitants attempted an attack on Belgian riders in order to privilege their favourite French ones! Nails and shards were disposed on the route for the step Toulouse-Bordeaux creating flat tyres… All this almost put an end to what is today’s most exceptional world cycling race! 

 

Old bicycle in France, Brittany 
 
 
Great! Starting from 1905 and following the tumultuous Tour of 1904, there would be no step involved during the night.
 
The worst! In 1906, 3 riders have been disqualified for jumping in a train to save time! Again!?!
 
Great! In 1910, the Tour included some climbing steps in the mountains (in the Pyrenees) and the concept of the “Voiture-balai” (Broom wagon), which aims at picking up the latest riders (called the red lantern or “lanterne rouge”) was created. 

 

A very important step included in the 2016 Tour de France: the Mont Ventoux

 
The worst! In 1911, Paul Duboc was the leader of the Tour… until he got thirsrty and drunk in a flask that was “kindly” offered to him by an anonymous spectator. Later on, he would fall down attacked by a violent sickness. He had to stop riding for a few hours...
 
Great! To celebrate the 100’s anniversary of the Tour de France, the departure was organized in the city of Montgeron, the same city as 100 years ago in 1903!

 

Old style bicycle standing on a wall

 
The worst! In 1919, 3 famous riders who participated in the Tour de France before the war were killed during World War I and would never take part in the race again. They are Petit-Breton, Lapize and Faber.
 
Great! In 1947, the Tour de France was back after a 7-years break due to the World War. France was in the throes of reconstruction but the tour took place in a jolly atmosphere full of enthusiasm! 
 
The worst! In 1937, R. Lapébie was warming up when he almost fell down from his bike. Someone had sawn his handlebar! Could it be the Belgian mechanic? 

 

Nails that were disposed on the road for sabotage reasons at the beginning of the Tour
 
 
Great! Since 1954 and for 11 years, Yvette Horner has been the first women accordionist to take part in the Tour. She used to play on the roof of a Citroen car following the riders, playing at the finish of each stage and animating the evening balls … 
 
The worst! In 1953, L. Le Calvez had the idea of a new subterfuge, adding some weight to the rider’s flask in order to descent faster in the slopes…
 

The 4 different Jerseys of the Tour de France: Yellow Jersey, Green Jersey, Polka Dot Jersey and White Jersey
 
 
Great! In 1974, Eddy Merckx, also known as “the Cannibal”, was the only rider to have won all the separate classifications of le Tour!
 
The worst! In 1967, as Top Simpson was climbing on the Mont Ventoux, he suddenly collapsed and was found dead only a few minutes later. Analyses reveal that dehydration, hot temperature, lack of food were as much responsible as alcohol, drugs and fatigue. This is the first event that will emphasize future anti-doping measures. 
 
Great! In 1975, the finish line was organized on the Champs Elysees for the 1st time

 

The arrival in Paris

 
The worst! In 1975, Eddy Mercks was about to win his 6th Tour de France. But the French general audience was more in favour with Bernard Thévenet. A spectator became so frustrated he would punch the rider in the middle of the climb! After what Eddy Mercks would not be able to stay in front and would loose his top title. Tough isn’t it? 
 
Great! The first foreign city from which the Tour de France departed was Amsterdam in 1954. Since then, the Tour departures took place in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, UK, Luxembourg, Spain, Monaco and Switzerland. 

 

A supporter too close from the riders
 
The worst! In 1998, a doping network was discovered among Richard Virenque’s team while medical staff Willy Voet was caught at the French/Belgium border carrying doping substances. One year later, it would be Lance Armstrong’s turn…
 
Great! In 1995, Miguel Indurain was the 1st rider to win the Tour 5 times in a row (between 1991 and 1995)

 

Richard Virenque
 
The worst! In 1999, G. Guerini was about to live the most glorious time of the Tour. A clumsy and coarse spectator who wanted to take a picture abruptly pushed him down and made him fall! Lucky him, he would still win the step, and the rude spectator would be receiving some well deserved public comments!
 
Great! The Tour starts in the Mont-Saint-Michel for the 1st time in 2016!

 
And here is the details of the 21 steps that will form the 2016 Tour de France!
 

 
Happy Tour de France to all of you!
 
Sources:
Le Monde 
Le Tour de France 

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