Cartoon Fun

History of
The Tour de France

presented by
Brownielocks and The 3 Bears



2013 Tour de France was the 100th Anniversary!

Note: The bicycle in my illustration was obtained from Bicycle
free clipart section. I took the liberty of customizing this bike for our bear with
the fluffy seat (to help prevent soreness), a light, some streamers, and well, if
you notice he carries the Finish Line with him so he always wins!
Lance Armstrong, look out! (wink!)

July is the month for the now  world-famous Tour de France bicycle race.
And it all began due to ego!  

The Tour de France goes back to 1903, when 2 Paris sports publications called "Le Velo" and "L'Auto" were competing for readers.  Henri Desgrange was the editor of the "L'Auto" publication and also a former cycling champ.  The "Le Velo" had already organized a 400-mile race called the Bordeaux-to-Paris and the 700-mile Paris-Brest-Paris races.  So Henri decided to create an even more grueling and awesome race that would last an entire month and take it's competitors on a 1,500 mile route through France that begins in Paris and ends in Paris.  The original title was "Le Tour de France Cycliste" and was an instant success, drawing huge crowds and also doing what Henri wanted....doubling the readership of his paper the "L' Auto."

The original 1,500 miles is now 2,500 miles and includes some really tough stretches of biking through the Alps, the Massif Central, the Pyrenees mountains and ending at Paris' Arc de Triomphe.

What separates the Tour de France from other competitions is it's physical demands and it's format.  The race is divided into 23 timed stages (or legs of the race), covering over a 3-week period with only ONE DAY OF REST! There are 20 teams, with up to 10 riders per team making a total of 200 riders in the race. Some team riders are to "clear the way" for the team's best cyclists.  The best riding teams have members who are specialized in such certain bicycling skills such as sprinting, climbing hills and speed.   Then there are some team members who are the logistics support (along the same lines as a race driver has a pit crew to help him?) in which their sole purpose is to clear a path for the team's leader, even if it means giving him your bike or say tire if need be.  

It may seem odd, but a rider could win 4 to 5  of the daily stages and yet still end up finishing behind the actual winner (determined by the cyclist with the lowest cumulative time for ALL stages combined) of the Tour de France.  Ironically, that means that it's also possible to win only one stage or even NO stages of this race, and yet end up winning the race merely by staying close to the daily leaders day by day and wait for either them to mess up somehow and then take the lead or....some other strategy? ;) The race is a stage race, with each stage basically being a day long. (Some stages take more than a day.)  Ranking the riders according to their accumulated time is called "General Classification." The winner is the one who is ranked first in General Classification. The stages have varied through the years.  Today, there's about 20 stages, with each stage being about 50 to 200 miles long. ( The Tour will vary; but, all the stages add up to about 1,800 to 2,500 miles total. ) And, even though it's called the Tour de France, some of the stages are not in France, but are  in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.
The first stage of the Tour de France is called the prologue. It starts in France. And the end of the race is called the Champs-Élysées and ends in Paris.

 (The entire point system, as well as the different stages to me is extremely complicated and is explained in better detail on the official Tour de France website. )

In brief, the key to winning the Tour de France is consistency.  The winners also become international celebrities.  Some more than others.

The most well-known winners are listed chronologically as follows:
(a listing of all the winners is below)

Jacques Anquetil 
(1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)

Eddie Mercks 
(1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
(From Belgiam and considered by many the world's greatest cyclist)

Bernard Hinault
 (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985)

Miguel Indurain
 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)


Chris Froome
(2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)

The first American to win the Tour de France is:

Greg LeMond
 (1986, 1989, 1990)


For a complete listing of all the  le Tour de France winners (single and multiple), scroll down the page a little bit.

A couple of other interesting stories of courage and determination include Eugene Cristophe in 1913 (who was in 2nd place at the time)  and suddenly broke the fork of his bike on a steep climb through the Pyrenees Mountains.  In this area, attacks by bears are a common danger.  Knowing this, Eugene ran 10 miles carrying his bike to the nearest village where he used a blacksmith's forge to repair it and then continue.

Another story is of Tom Simpson,  a former world champion cyclist, who collapsed and died while climbing Mont Ventoux in the 1967 race.  His last words were, "Put me on the bike!"  Later, tests showed that performance-enhancing drugs were believed to have been a big player in his death.  As a result, drug scandals have plagued this competition ever since. Riders are now routinely tested for drugs during the month the race goes on.

The Tour de France is considered the most prestigious bike race in the world today.  This is probably due to television.  It is said to attract more viewers than any other sporting event.  I am not sure how this is determined?  I guess considering it goes for an entire month, it probably does compared to few weeks of the Olympics, Word Series or even a one-day event like the Super Bowl?  And since it covers the entire country of France, it is estimated that 14.6 million live viewers stand along the roads to catch a glimpse of the racers as they go by.

The biggest crowd for the Tour de France forms along the Champs-Elysees, the most famous boulevard in Paris.  The last stage of the race creates a spectacular view for the racers as they go by some famous sights like the Lourvre, the Tuileries Gardens, the arcades of the Rue de Rivoli, the Place de la Concorde and lastly the Arc de Rriomphe (Arch of Triomph).  Photographs usually show the winner passing the Arch and has become the symbol for victory of this race.

The Arc de Triomphe was originally commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and is the monumental tomb site for their Unknown Soldier (who is buried in the center).

In 1984 the Tour Feminin was created for female cyclists to compete.  It is only 625 miles and is run concurrently with the last two weeks of the men's tour.

What's with all the shirt colors?

In 1919 a tradition began of acknowledging (and making it easier to recognize) the current leader with the lowest accumulated points by being the riding who wears a YELLOW jersey. This person is the overall time leader.

Now the last place cyclist is then given a RED jersey and is referred to as the "Red Lantern."   It reminds me of the red caboose on a train. The red jersey, however, is no longer given out. It was abolished in 1989.

They also have the GREEN jersey, which is awarded to the rider with the most sprint points. The points vary, depending on the type of stage in the race it is. Flat stages give more points that the Mountainous stages.  Riders are given points based on how they come in as in...  first, second, etc. Points are also awarded for individual time achievements.

Then in the 1930's they added a WHITE jersey with red polka dots, as an acknowledgement for "The King of the Mountains" to the rider who excelled in the climbing phase of the race.


All the Tour de France Winners

Race Year The Winner + Country Note:
1903 Maurice Garin, France  
1904 Henri Cornet, France  
1905 Louis Trousselier, France  
1906 René Pottier, France  
1907 Lucien Petit-Breton, France  
1908 Lucien Petit-Breton, France  
1909 Francois Faber, Luxembourg  
1910 Octave Lapize, France  
1911 Gustave Garrigou, France  
1912 Odile Defraye, Belgium  
1913 Philippe Thys, Belgium  
1914 Philippe Thys, Belgium  
1915-18   NOT HELD
1919 Firmin Lambot, Belgium  
1920 Philippe Thys, Belgium  
1921 Léon Scieur, Belgium  
1922 Firmin Lambot, Belgium  
1923 Henri Pelissier, France  
1924 Ottavio Bottecchia, Italy  
1925 Ottavio Bottecchia, Italy  
1926 Lucien Buysse, Belgium  
1927 Nicholas Frantz, Luxembourg  
1928 Nicholas Frantz, Luxembourg  
1929 Maurice Dewaele, Belgium  
1930 André Leducq France  
1931 Antonin Magne France  
1932 André Leducq France  
1933 Georges Speicher, France  
1934 Antonin Magne France  
1935 Romain Maes Belgium  
1936 Sylvere Maes Belgium  
1937 Roger Lapebie, France  
1938 Gino Bartali, Italy  
1939 Sylvere Maes, Belgium  
1940-45   NOT HELD
1946 Jean Lazarides, France   (Five-day race)
1947 Jean Robic, France  
1948 Gino Bartali, Italy  
1949 Fausto Coppi, Italy  
1950 Ferdinand Kubler, Switzerland  
1951 Hugo Koblet, Switzerland  
1952 Fausto Coppi, Italy  
1953 Louison Bobet, France  
1954 Louison Bobet, France  
1955 Louison Bobet, France  
1956 Roger Walkowiak, France  
1957 Jacques Anquetil, France  
1958 Charly Gaul, Luxembourg  
1959 Federico Bahamontes, Spain  
1960 Gastone Nencini, Italy  
1961 Jacques Anquetil, France  
1962 Jacques Anquetil, France  
1963 Jacques Anquetil, France  
1964 Jacques Anquetil, France  
1965 Felice Gimondi, Italy  
1966 Lucien Aimar, France  
1967 Roger Pingeon, France  
1968 Jan Janssen, Holland  
1969 Eddy Merckx, Belgium  
1970 Eddy Merckx, Belgium  
1971 Eddy Merckx, Belgium  
1972 Eddy Merckx, Belgium  
1973 Luis Ocana, Spain  
1974 Eddy Merckx, Belgium  
1975 Bernard Thevenet, France  
1976 Lucien van Impe, Belgium  
1977 Bernard Thevenet, France  
1978 Bernard Hinault, France  
1979 Bernard Hinault, France  
1980 Joop Zoetemelk, Holland  
1981 Bernard Hinault, France  
1982 Bernard Hinault, France  
1983 Laurent Fignon, France  
1984 Laurent Fignon, France  
1985 Bernard Hinault, France  
1986 Greg LeMond, US  
1987 Stephen Roche, Ireland  
1988 Pedro Delgado, Spain  
1989 Greg LeMond, US  
1990 Greg LeMond, US  
1991 Miguel Induráin, Spain  
1992 Miguel Induráin, Spain  
1993 Miguel Induráin, Spain  
1994 Miguel Induráin, Spain  
1995 Miguel Induráin, Spain  
1996 Bjarne Riis, Denmark  
1997 Jan Ullrich, Germany  
1998 Marco Pantani, Italy  
1999 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2000 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2001 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2002 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2003 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2004 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2005 Lance Armstrong, US (Removed) *
2006 Oscar Pereiro, Spain   *  
2007 Alberto Contador, Spain  
2008 Carlos Sastre, Spain  
2009 Alberto Contador, Spain  
2010 Alberto Contador, Spain  
2011 Cadel Evans, Australia (First time win for this country.)
2012 Bradley Wiggins, Great Britian (First time win for this country.)
2013 Chris Froome, Great Britian  
2014 Vincenzo Nibali, Italy  
2015 Chris Froome, Great Britian  
2016 Chris Froome, Great Britian  
2017 Chris Froome, Great Britian  
2018 Geraint Thomas, Wales  
2019 *Egan Bernal, Columbia  
2020 Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia  
2021 Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia  
2022 Jonas Vingegaard, Denmark  
2023 Jonas Vingegaard, Denmark  


*Egan Bernal: He is also the first Latin American to win the race, as well as the first Columbian to win it.

*Floyd Landis came in first.  Title was removed due to drug testing discrepancies.
Landis claimed he was innocent.  However, in  May 2010 he finally admitted he did do drugs.

* October 22, 2012 Lance Armstrong was banned from cycling. All his titles were removed due to
use of  performance enhancing drugs.  No replacement winners to be announced. Those years remain blank.

5 times -  Bernard Hinault
5 times -  Eddy Merckx
5 times -  Miguel Induráin
5 times - Jacques Anquetil

4 times -Chris Froome

3 times -  Louison Bobet
3 times -  Greg LeMond
3 times -  Phillippe Thys
3 times -  Alberto Contador

2 times -  Gino Bartali
2 times -   Ottavio Bottecchia
2 times -  Fausto Coppi
2  times - Laurent Fignon
2 times -  Nicholas Frantz
2  times - Firmin Lambot
2 times -  André Leducq
2 times -  Sylvere Maes
2 times -  Antonin Magne
2 times -  Lucien Petit-Breton
2 times -  Bernard Thevenet
2 times - Tadej Pogacar
2 times -  Jonas Vingegaard

Visit the Official Tour de France website!

Hear the Tour De France Midi in the player.

Main Source: Holiday Symbols, 2nd Edition
By Sue Ellen Thompson
Omnigraphics, Inc. © 2000


Note: Special thanks to Wendy Young for letting me know about Green Jerseys and a misleading


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