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A Brief History Of The Tour de France

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The first version of the bicycle was introduced to the public in 1817. It took the world by storm and by the early 21st century there were more than 1 billion bicycles. They began as a primary mode of transport for many people and while this is still true nowadays, a large use of bicycles is in the sports world.

As when you think of bicycles, you’ll probably think of the Tour de France. Read on for a brief history of the Tour de France from the team here at Hooked on Cycling.

The Humble Beginnings

The Tour de France first occurred in 1903 as a way to increase sales for the sports newspaper L’Auto, which still publishes today! The first race ran from the 1-19th of July in six stages, starting in Montgeron and ending in Paris. It was won by Maurice Garin, who also went on to win the second race in 1904. However, he was stripped of this second title for cheating.

Has It Ever Stopped?

The Tour de France has been held every single year since 1903, with only two exceptions. It took a short break between 1915 and 1918 during the First World War and a second break between 1940 and 1946 for the Second World War. Returning in 1947, it has been held every year since then.


One of the biggest scandals in recent years was the Lance Armstrong doping case. Armstrong had won seven consecutive between 1999 and 2006 but in 2012 allegations against doping were pursued, accusing Armstrong of using blood transfusions, steroids and blood-boosters.

There have also been a few fatalities during the course of the Tour de France, including four riders and seven pedestrians. These have been a mix of falling off course, crashing and even a drug overdose.

The Tour Today

The 110th Tour de France started on July 1st 2023 in Bilbao Spain and ended in Paris on the 23rd of July. Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard won the general classification with the points classification won by Jasper Philipsen. The race was then followed by the second Tour de France Femmes, won by Demi Vollering.

Cycling Tours in France from Hooked On Cycling

Now that you’ve found out a bit more about the Tour de France, you might be thinking about your own cycling break in France. Here at Hooked On Cycling & Walking, we offer our customers a range of stunning getaways in France. We have a great choice of tours for riders of all ages and abilities so anybody can come along!

Our cycling holidays in France can take you across the whole of France exploring everything from rural villages and countryside to modern cities and coastlines. Get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about our cycling and walking tours.

About the author

I have worked for Hooked on Cycling & Walking since 2007 and love to travel and explore. I like to get outdoors and take my two young boys with me and hiking/cycling is enjoyed by all of us.

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