It’s hard to believe, but this year marks the 100th running of the Tour de France in 110 years time. Setting off from the Café au Reveil Matin just outside of Paris, the first stage of the first ever Tour rolled out at 3:16 p.m. on July 1, 1903. Organized by Henri Desgrane, the first tour was essentially a marketing event dreamed up to try and boost sailes of the L’Auto newspaper (which later became the sports newspaper L’Equipe). It worked. Sales of the paper jumped 40,000 copies as the race progressed through the French countryside. After only the second tour, cheating in the form of shortcuts, being towed by cars, hopping on trains, and laying tacks on the road to cause competitors to flat led Henri to famously declare the second tour as the last saying, “It has died of its success, of the blind passions that it unleashed, the abuse and the dirty suspicions.” While it seems little has changed, the Tour survived to run another 98 times back then, and it will continue to survive.
To celebrate the history of the past 99 Tours, award winning journalist Richard Moore has created Tour de France 100: A Photographic Hisotyr of the World’s Greatest Race. Inside the 224 page $34.95 hard cover there are over 250 photos including black and white images of the early days with tubulars around the shoulders. From the triumphs to the disgrace, to the epic battles, the book covers it all in detail making for what should be an excellent coffee table book in celebration of the 100th Tour de France.