Monday, July 19, 2010

Maurice Garin, initially declared winner of th...Image via Wikipedia
On This Day...

In 1903, Maurice Garin, an Italian who later took French nationality, won the inaugural Tour De France.  The first Tour had only six stages, but they were massive, each stage was on average around 400km long.  The TdF was invented by the magazine L'Auto to boost circulation over its arch rival Le Velo, this proved such a success that the Tour became an annual event and Le Velo was driven out of business.

Garin won three of the six stages on the first Tour, and he returned in 1904 to defend his title but that race descended into scandal and farce and Garin and other riders were expelled from the Tour after accusations that they had cheated by taking trains between checkpoints.

In this year's race, Andy Schleck still wears the yellow jersey and Alberto Contador is only half a minute behind him.
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