Origins of the Tour de France

  • Tour de France on July 20, 1975 on the Champs-Elysees in Paris

    Tour de France on July 20, 1975 on the Champs-Elysees in Paris

    © AFP PHOTO

Origins of the Tour de France

Land of cycling, Jacques Anquetil's country is the scene of one of the most popular sporting events ever: the Tour de France.

This race, born in 1903 from a competition between two sporting magazines, was first won by a certain Maurice Garin, who still holds the record for the greatest distance between two riders: 2hrs 49 min.

French in itself, the tour was quickly internationalized in putting forward many foreign champions, from Fausto Coppi to Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain or Alberto Contador. A world-renowned event that's adored by the public, the Tour de France will make you fall in love while discovering the real France.

An international playground

Even if the Tour has evolved since its beginnings, it still symbolizes the same concept, taking place on cobblestone roads and in petite villages -- something that all champions and amateurs dream about.

This legendary and challenging test presents France in many different angles that appeal to everyone. France made the Tour, and today, even with its international reputation, following it is a rendez-vous with France and its people.

Henri Desgrange, renowned cyclist and sporting journalist, founder of the Tour de France, stayed with the Tour until 1936, when he left after an interruption by the war.

A Henri-Desgrange prize is rewarded every year to the cyclist who first crosses the "Col du Galibier" on the top of the mountain.

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