The premiere cycling event is the Tour de France. It draws the world’s best riders to the country for 23 days and lasts over 21 day all day stages. It traverses all of France which is a country blessed with high peaks, low plains and picturesque countryside making it a great challenge. It has seen many notable teams come and go such as the current dominate Team Sky, US Postal Service (although their achievements have been stripped following the doping of team lead rider Lance Armstrong), Movistar (the home of five time consecutive champion Miguel Indurain), Astana and Saint Raphael in the 60’s plus Molteni the home of the great Eddie Merckx ending in the 1970’s. Maybe one day some of our British courier services like Same day courier Slough company will have a team of their 


Le Tour is one of the oldest sporting concurrent events starting in 1903. It was envisaged as being just a promotional event for the French magazine L ’Auto to increases its circulation and also show it had more money and clout than its rival L’ Velo. It has run consistently since only taken a break during the First World War when as most of France was a battlefield it would have been difficult to run and the Second World War when the country was occupied by Germany and the inhabitants and occupiers had more important things to be concerned about. The first one was just nineteen days, a scale back from the proposed night races, and would take in all of France’s regions at some point. The entry fee was set at 10 francs and the prize money totalled 12,000. This was a princely sum and would have set many of the entrants up for life. There was a 3-thousand-franc reward for whoever won a stage as well. Anyone who got over 12 miles per hour as an average also got a daily allowance to cover their expenses as many were off work for the duration and would lose money.

The start was in the village of Montgeron with, strangely, no coverage from the magazine it was supposed to promote. It proved too gruelling for many of the 60 to 80 entrants. Many of these were professional racers but there were also amateurs and even some who were plainly in it for a laugh and an adventure. This number was whittled down to 24 at the finish where Frenchman Maurice Garin recorded the winning time. The race ended at the edge of Paris but the organisers had a final show stage around Paris similar to the stage finish under the Champs-Elysees as we have today. The stunt worked as L’Auto’s circulation grew by twice its original readership and it was to go on to dominate the market.

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