Tour de France

 © TDF 

23 July 2021  |  Sports and leisure

The first Tour de France 1903

The first Tour de France took place in 1903. The race was invented to boost the circulation of L'Auto, after its circulation started to plummet from competition with the long-standing Le Vélo. Originally scheduled to start in June, the race was postponed one month, and the prize money was increased, after a disappointing level of applications from competitors.

Tour de France 1903

 © TDF 

Despite a strong performance by 20-year-old newcomer Lucien Pothier, and a strong challenge by Hippolite Aucouturier, it was the experienced Maurice Garin who dominated the inaugural Tour de France. After winning the first stage, he remained within reach as Aucouturier took the following two stages. But then Garin shifted into high gear. And after winning the final two stages he pocketed the first "Tour de France Cycliste" by over two hours.

Maurice Garin

 © TDF  

Maurice Garin so dominated the first Tour that his nearest competitor finished 2 hours 49 minutes behind. Today Garin still holds the record for winning the race by the greatest margin.

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Hugh Atkins

Co-founder of Pure France. 20 years of visiting and photographing fabulous properties, meeting fascinating people and driving every main and back road in France.

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