Going back to the roots
Back in the year 1903, Tour de France was just an act of publicity in the newspaper. It has become a tool for businessmen to promote their products, cycling gears such as bikes, shoes, tires, and even telephones.
These were the eager sponsors who wanted to take advantage of this event to increase their business sales. In addition, the bicycle race was also in its vision to increase the paper sales of a daily sports magazine known as the L’Auto.
The original plan of the first Tour de France consists of five stages that will start on May 31 to July 5. The race will begin in Paris going to Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Nantes and then back to the origin. Henri Desgrange, the editor of the L’Auto magazine discarded the original plan.
He cut the time frame down to nineteen days, which will begin on the first of July and he offered financial assistance to riders who can average of at least 20 kilometers per hour on all different stages. The registration fee was only 10 francs from the original plan of 20 so that more and more people will be attracted to join the event. The first prize is worth 12000 francs and winners for each stage will receive 3000 francs, which is actually a huge amount of money back then.
On July 1 of the year 1903, there were sixty men who rode on their bikes outside of the Café au Reveil Matin that is located in Montgeron. Of the sixty men who participated, most of them were French. There were few contestants who were Belgians, Germans, Italians, and Swiss. Some participants were really professional in the world of bicycling while others are just there for the sake of sports. Those professionals were even supported by famous bicycle manufacturers at that time.
After the long race was over, Maurice Garin was the first in history to win Tour de France. With an average speed of 25 kilometers per hour, he beat all of the other contenders and won a total of 6,075 francs.
Interesting facts about the Tour
Although 2013 was the centennial celebration of the Tour, it is actually 110 years that year since the Tour did not operate during the World War. The fastest average speed at 25.8 miles per hour recorded was in the year 2005, which almost doubled the record in the year 1919 at 15 miles per hour. As the years went by, the Tour has actually become greater than what it started. Because more and more people are becoming aware of this event through the years, different nationalities outside Europe were able to participate in this event.
It has also provided campaign for people with heart problems. Representing the United States, Lance Armstrong won the Tour for seven times and he was able to come back after fighting cancer. Participating in cycling events is encouraged among women because it gives them health benefits and it promotes a more active lifestyle to them.