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Tour de France – history of the well-known bicycle race

The well-known race Tour de France (or as Frenchmen often call it La Grande Boucle – the Big loop) has started in 1903. Up to now over hundred races has already taken place under this name. This significant for any professional bicycle racer action is taking place in France during warm July time annually (with an exception during the First and Second world wars) and is considered the most significant competition in sport career.

Every year two more well-known long-lasting races take place in Europe – Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España namely; but Tour de France nevertheless is quoted much more above, its name unlike the two named above is familiar, perhaps, to everyone interested in sports in the slightest degree all over the world. Remarkable is the fact that starting in Paris the race is one of the most visited sport events in the world.

Coming back in this bicycle race history, it is necessary to notice that it is obliged by its birth to the newspaper L’Auto (the predecessor of the modern L’Equipe) and its founder Henri Desgrange (the guy himself seriously took a great interest in cycling), actually, at the first stage it was his advertising project, some kind of opposition to a popular bicycle race Paris-Brest (don’t confuse it to Belarusian city, there is a city with the same name in France). And the direct inspirer of “the Big loop” was a journalist of the named above newspaper – Geo Lefevre. And what is interesting, the owners of the newspaper have managed to achieve their goal, – in the first year the race took place the edition circulation has grown practically three times, and the further – the more, L’Auto became the most popular daily newspaper in France.

Nowadays a sports organization called “the Society of Tour de France” is engaged in organizing of the well-known race, it is a part of the same holding which owns L’Equipe newspaper. That is for it is possible to tell that the race has not lost the link with its founder.

Tour de France consists of a set of stages, each of which passes between two required settlements, thus each stage necessarily lasts for one day. As to the first in the history “Big loop» events only sixty sportsmen have taken part in it (quite modestly for present), it had six stages. The 1903 race was hosted by such big cities of France, as Paris, Nantes, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lyons and Toulouse. The winner of the historical race was a local chimney sweep – bicyclist Maurice Garin. At that time professional sports simply did not exist, and many sports competitions, in France and behind its limits have been obliged to usual sportsmen-fans.

For over a centenary history Tour de France has seen many great sportsmen, it has given huge number of every possible records to the world, but what is the most important, for all this time it gave pleasure to fans supporting their favorite sportsmen.

And if once for the admirer of cycling from our country visiting the well-known race was something from the fantasy category, nowadays anyone interested having necessary means has a possibility to observe an event on the French roads. Besides, for example, planning visiting Paris, you can find time viewing one of the stages of Tour de France which passes the French capital.