Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Photo - Maurice Garin Winner of the First Tour de France

Maurice Garin - Winner of the first (1903) Tour de France
This week's photo features Maurice Garin, winner of the first Tour de France in 1903. The race was started by a French newspaper which wanted to boost its declining subscriber base. It was modeled on the indoor six day races which were popular at the time. In the six day races, riders could ride 24 hours a day if they wanted. The 1903 Tour was broken into 6 stages, which were not very hilly, but about 250 miles long on average (More than twice the length of stages today). Garin led from start to finish, winning stages 1, 5 and 6. His winning time for stage 6 was over 18 hours. His overall margin of victory was well over two hours, a record which still stands.

The race had been expected to be a showdown between Garin and Hippolyte Aucouturier. Unfortunately, Aucouturier had to quit halfway through the first stage due to stomach cramps. Under today's rules, he would have been out of the race entirely. With the 1903 rules he was out of the overall competition, but he could still compete for stage wins. Aucouturier bounced back and won stages 2 and 3.

The race was a huge success for the newspaper, which saw its circulation increase be a factor of six. Today it is known as L'Équipe, which is nationwide newspaper in France devoted entirely to sports.

No comments:

Post a Comment