Le Tour de France: Stage 1 – Paris-Lyon, 1903

Cycling History

reveil_matin_plaqueThe plaque beneath the awning of the Café au Réveil Matin in Montgeron in the southeast suburbs of Paris marks the spot from where the first 60 riders to compete in the world’s greatest race set off on the inaugural Tour de France on 1 July, 1903. Ahead of them lay 2,428 kilometres of racing split into 6 monumental stages with the last, and longest, covering 471 kilometres from Nantes to Paris. Le Tour was a grand experiment in racing, the like of which had never been seen before. Yet it was not the first boucle of France. That honour had fallen to Théophile Joyeyx who in May 1895 cycled 4,429 kilometres around France in 19 days at an average of 235 kilometres a day. En route Joyeux had considered quitting but was persuaded to continue by his supporters, one of whom was the holder of the first officially sanctioned…

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