These pictures symbolise what we both love and hate about the Grand Boucle. The rich heritage, the everlasting glory, the unbreakable dedication and the heart-breaking cheating. It’s all there. So let’s kick back and enjoy a little bit of nostalgia.
1903: Tour de France winner Maurice Garin
1926: The epic battle started at 2 AM. Riders went out in a downpour and even had to dismount on Tourmalet because of all the mud. By 10 PM, only 30 riders had crossed the finish line, and 15 were still missing the next morning.
1937: Gino “the Pious” Bartali on the Galibier pass. He went on to win the Tour in 1938, but is best known for helping partisans in Nazi-occupied Italy and ultimately saving the lives of 800 Jews.
1937: Riders used derailleurs for the first time in 1937. Before their introduction, everyone had to stop and switch their back wheels prior to climbs.
1947: The Tour de France resumed two years after the World War II. In the photo above, you can see the riders leaving the town of Caen. Damage to the buildings is still visible.
In 1967, Tom Simpson was wearing the Yellow Jersey when he headed up the Mount Ventoux in the 13th stage. He collapsed shortly before reaching the summit and died on the spot. It is thought that a performance-enhancing mix of alcohol and amphetamines caused the tragedy.
1969: The beginning of the Cannibal’s reign. Eddie Merckx won the Tour five times between 1969 and 1974 and is considered to be the best cyclist ever.
1987: Colombian rider Luis Herrer posing in front of the Berlin Wall, celebrating Berlin’s 750th birthday.
1997: He was the first German to win the Tour de France, but is better known for admitting to doping a decade later.
2013: Lance Armstrong was stripped off all of his Tour de France victories. Seven titles were gone because of doping. Here you can see him during an infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey.