Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Emmanuel
If you ask how the Tour de France has changed since 1903, this article provides detailed information on how this most regarded cycling event has developed.
You will learn how the Tour de France (TdF) started promoting a newspaper to become the most famous cycling race globally.
Table of Contents
Where did the Tour de France start in 1903?
The sports newspaper “L’auto” owners organized the first TdF in 1903 to promote this newspaper.
It resulted in a four times increase in sales, but the following event failed due to the lack of proper organization.
This failure has served as a lesson to the organizers as they set rules and regulations, enabling other TdF races to succeed.
They also added other steps covering most France areas for many roadside spectators to watch it live.
Moreover, organizers introduced the yellow jersey in 1919 to enable roadside spectators to recognize the TdF leader easily.
Many cyclists have since worn the yellow jersey, but a few are more successful than others.
Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, and Miguel Indurain won each five TdF titles.
Also, many TdF lovers will never forget Lance Armstrong, who won it seven consecutive times from 1998 to 2005.
However, he was stripped from all titles in October 2012 due to doping allegations, disappointing his millions of fans worldwide.
The Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also banned him from all cycling race competitions.
His titles stayed vacant becasue they were not awarded to anybody.
How unhealthy is the Tour de France for the riders?
Let’s first outline that the TdF lasted 23 days, including 21 steps and two resting days, making it challenging for all riders.
During the 21 steps, riders face many risks on the road; some suffer from accidents and illnesses, requiring them to abandon the race.
Those who continue the race until the last stage at the Champs Elysees spend incredible energy.
According to specific data, riders on the TdF burn around 5,000 calories daily, unlike marathon runners.
They also work as a team to improve their performance to outperform competitors.
The more they fast on flat terrain, descents, and climbs like the Alps, the more their bodies carve in.
When you talk to the TdF riders, you will learn that they fight against their bodies from start to end.
At the same time, they fight against their opponents all along the race to win it if possible or be among the first finishers.
People think cyclists on the TdF or similar race competitions are aliens, given how their bodies go through unbelievable traumas.
These professional riders need proper diets and discipline to continue performing for years.
Unfortenately, a few of them also take shortcuts by doping, which is a non-allowed practice.
Have any riders competing in the Tour de France ever died?
List of riders who died on the Tour de France.
Unfortunately, three riders died on the TdF from its beginning in 1903.
The first was the Spanish Franciso Cepeda in 1935 after he plunged down a ravine on the Col du Galibier.
Secondly, Tom Simpson from the United Kingdom died on this tour in 1967 during the 13th stage.
Another rider who passed away in 1995 on the Tour de France during the 15th stage was the Italian Fabio Casartelli.
Fabio Casartelli and other riders descended through the Col de Portet d’Aspet in the central Pyrenees.
The late was immediately brought to the nearby hospital by helicopter, but he didn’t survive the sustained facial and head injuries.
Be always careful when cycling, and wear the best protective gear, including a helmet.
An excellent helmet protects against facial and head injuries, the common cause of fatal road accidents.
Other People Who Died On The Tour de France
Besides riders, other people also died on the TdF in different fatal accidents, including:
- 1964, a deadly van supply accident killed nine people.
- A twelve-year-old boy was killed by a vehicle in the TdF publicity caravan.
- Moreover, a TdF publicity caravan caused the death of a seven-year-old boy in 2002.
- In 2009, a police motorcycle struck a 60s woman and caused her death.
To our knowledge, these riders and spectators died on the Tour de France from its beginning.
If you have additional information, please leave them in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
How do Tour de France riders relieve themselves during the race?
Many people ask how riders on the TdF relieve themselves, and we feel compelled to answer the question.
Indeed, these gentlemen are human despite riding over a hundred miles or a bit less daily for 21 steps.
If one needs to pee during the race, he asks for a bathroom break, as the rules allow.
In such a case, the peloton typically slows up for the rider to relieve quickly and rejoin his teammates and opponents after.
A rider out from the peloton can quickly relieve himself and return to racing.
How does the Tour de France affect international tourism?
Let’s remind that the TdF attracts millions of spectators worldwide, directly or on through their TV screens.
People from Europe and many other countries rush to visit France and attend this sports event.
Most rent camper vans for a few days to contemplate the peloton, breakaways, yellow jersey, and the latecomers pass by.
Those who can not rent camping cars stay in expensive hotels, generating more revenue.
In addition to the influx of tourists worldwide, the TdF is also an opportunity for companies to promote their businesses.
These factors combined make the TdF benefit the economy of France, especially since this country is among the most visited globally.
Indeed, domestic and international tourism earn France’s economy billions of euros yearly.
Let’s end this artcle on how the Tour de France has changed since it started in 1903.
This article has given a brief history of this tour and answered other essential questions you may ask about it.
We have also visited France during the TdF 2022, and there is nothing good than assisting in the last step on the Champs Elysees.
We couldn’t believe the Champs Elysees is the most beautiful avenue in the world until we visited it.
It was pleasing to see Jonas Vingegaard in a yellow jersey and other famous riders like Tadej Pogacar.