With the peloton ready for the Grand Départ in Dusseldorf, we thought you might want to take a step back and remember what the sport was all about back in the early days. No power meters, no radios, no Eurosport, no Red Car. These photographs are pure racing.

The peloton in 1906
Léon Despontin, aged 37, Stage 2 of the 1925 Tour de France.
One of the competitors cycles in Romilly-sur-Seine (1936)
A controversial moment helped Roger Lapebie (pictured right) achieve the overall victory in the 1937 edition of Tour de France. Lapebie managed to pass a set of railroad tracks here while his pursuers did not. They were stopped by a train, giving the Frenchman a decisive lead.
French cyclist Amedeé Fournier resting during the 1939 Tour de France.
Geminiani during a descent from the Tourmalet (1952)
Riders enjoy a refreshing spray of water on a hot day (1960)
A laidback break (1960)
Van den Hoek during a smoking break (1978)
Bernard Hinault gives Gerhard Schönbacher a red lantern for taking last place (1979).

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