A brief history of the Tour
July 18 2012
Long-time readers of this blog will know that I'm a huge fan of the Tour de France. Below is a quick history of this storied event.
The Tour de France launched in 1903 by Henri Desgrange. Desgrange desired a big event to attract subscribers to his burgeoning newspaper, L'Auto. The Paris paper was, at the time, only known for its large collection of BBW and BHM personal, classified ads.
In 1902, Desgrange proposed a human chain made entirely of midgets, stretching across France from Normandy to Tuscany. The event never materialized -- French President Émile Loubet had all French midgets put to death just weeks before Desgrange's planned event.
For 1903, Degrange decided on a better idea - a bike race spanning 21 days, traveling across the entire country of France. (21 days for the 21 virgins sacrificed on the day immediately before the Tour. This became known as the "Prologue".)
The race left Paris for Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes and then returned back to Paris. The winner was Maurice Garin, a blind, one-legged survivor of the Wallachian uprising. Garin traveled the 2,428 km in just 94h 33m 14s. Second place was a unknown artist named Jean Pierre Oregon, who would later migrate to the USA and found the state of Washington.
Upon Garin's arrival in Paris, his parents were fed to the lions at Versaille - the highest civilian honor in France.